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Chemical analysis of particles and gases emitted from burning candles

Candle particles are one of the major contributors to particle pollution in indoor environments, but very little is known about the chemical composition of gases and particles emitted from candles and their health impact.

The chemical composition of different candle materials was studied. Candle particles were sampled onto filters in a candle emission test chamber and analyzed using GC-MS. In collaboration with Merete Bilde’s research group, Atmospheric Physical Chemistry, the properties of candle particles have been studied. The focus of our work was to elucidate the origin of the particles, e.g. if they come from the candle wax or the wick. The project is an international collaboration with industry and university partners including medical doctors and funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.

In addition, experiments with scented candles were carried out to investigate if the volatile fragrance products can be traced in the particle phase as well as in the gas phase. The chemical analysis was performed on GC-MS and resulted in identification of several fragrance compounds.