London, Jan 15: Ever thought that candles you brought home for dinner with your girlfriend and LCD television in the backdrop have anything in common?
In fact, these two vastly different products have much more in common than you might imagine.
Physicists at University of Luxembourg have found that wax molecules found in candles align in a similar way to molecules in liquid crystal – resembling the processes that are used in liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, like your television screen.
“This research would be of great value to the plastics industry as the polymers which make up plastics are really just long-chain versions of the molecules in wax,” says professor Tanja Schilling from the physics and material science research unit of the University of Luxembourg.
In the process of refining crude oil, paraffin wax is produced as a by-product.
Paraffin wax is widely used in making candles, lubricants, paint, medicines and even beauty products, said the study published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.
Schilling and her colleagues made a study of paraffin at the individual molecular level and examined the process by which molten wax crystallises.
Almost every plastic product we use each day is created via the injection-moulding process.
This is a process whereby molten plastic is injected into a mould and cooled to form the product required.
“Our research adds important knowledge as to how to control any potential defects in this process,” said Schilling.