Wax Ed 101: Lesson 2 What is 'cure' time?


wax like a fine wine.  wax cure time, candle cure time, wax melt cure, wax tart cure

Oh, the ever controversial cure time.  First, we'll start by saying that there are two very opposite trains of thought on cure time:

1. The scientific theory
2. The real-life, experience based theory

Scientifically, the basis of a strong or weak throw is based solely upon the temperature of the wax when the fragrance oil (FO) is added.  This theory is similar to your middle school science experiment of dissolving sugar into water - let's make Kool-Aid!  At cooler temperatures, you can only dissolve X amount of sugar until the grains begin to fall the bottom at which time you now have a saturated solution.  However, if the water is heated to a higher temperature, more sugar is now able to be dissolved thus creating a super saturated solution.  

This can be translated similarly to wax and FO.  As wax is heated, the molecules expand to bind with the FO.  At too low of a temperature, only a limited amount of FO will be dissolved/bound.  At too high of a temperature, the FO will become overly volatile and burn off.  Thus, we need the Goldilocks temperature of juuuuust right to absorb the maximum amount of oil.  Keep in mind, it is still like the sugar solution, eventually there will become a point at which no more oil can be dissolved, despite the temperature.  This is the point which we call 'maximum fragrance load.' 

Now, from a scientific point of view, technically, this is it.  The end.  Done.  Fini.  No more binding will occur.  However, in comes our experiential evidence of, then why does wax get stronger with time???  Well, the jury is still out on that.  I have searched high and low, in multiple sources of literature, and still there are no good studies to explain this (much like a lot of science still!).  But what we can say is, that despite an explanation, it does seem to still have some merit to the claims.  I can say with certainty that this does not apply across the board, however.  I have had scents throw so strong, that it punches you in the face when you walk into the house. AWESOME! On the same token, I've also had others that took a month or two to knock my socks off.  

The only theory I can offer to this is that the type of oil and scent are a major factor in this.  For example, ever notice most cinnamon scents regardless of brand or vendor tend to always be strong?  Could be the cinnamon, could be our noses are just more sensitive to cinnamon!  The world may never know!  Sooooo, the moral of the story is treat your wax like a fine wine, it just gets better with age!  Although do keep in mind that it is still a bit like cheese where aged is good, but eventually it will go bad and too much mold is just gross!  

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