Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wax Melting Part II

Well, more lessons learned... as I was writing my Wax Melting Part I post, I updated what I did along with my comments on what I should have done and boy am I still learning. One big mistake was to use my favorite green mixing bowl to melt wax into...

Here is the wax after day 2 in the solar oven. This time I left the glass door closed, but not latched.

The wax had all melted through and left a pile of sludge on the paper towel.

Here is a side view of the paper towel and bowl.

The paper towel was completely saturated with wax and the wax had also dripped onto the floor of the solar oven, quite a messy process and potentially very dangerous if you you were trying to melt wax in a real oven.

I tore off the paper towel and began to see the mistake of using my favorite bowl... bits of waxy towel stuck everywhere

As the wax began to cool and solidify, it followed a very interesting pattern, almost like a honeycomb shape during the cooling.

I am sure there is some scientific explanation for this, but how amazing to watch.

I allowed the wax to fully cool and then poked it out of the bowl. It formed a pretty disk about 6 inches in diameter and about 8mm thick (yes, I'm an engineer and I mix units. Big things I measure in English units, tiny things I measure in Metric, it works for me. Even more confusing is that for my job I work with temperature daily, but always in Centigrade. For all of my at-home purposes, I think in Fahrenheit)

So, back to my favorite bowl... wax is basically waterproof, so I could not wash it out, it did not pick out completely, would not scrape out... my poor bowl sat on the counter for two days with bits of wax and waxy paper towel stuck to it until I was able to put it back in the solar oven to heat back up. I then used a clean paper towel to wipe off the melted wax. It took a few repeats before the bowl was clean again. Phew, I sure missed my favorite mixing bowl, and I was not the only one. I overheard hubby teaching the boy how to make brownies: "Step one, you get the green mixing bowl..."

For a family who uses maybe 1 roll of paper towels every quarter, this has been a very wasteful experiment, towels to filter through, towels to clean up with, not to mention all of that wasted wax. I've found plans for a large scale solar melter, considering we now have a cooler and two 5 gallon buckets filled with comb, plus the guys went on a removal last night, we are going on a bee removal tonight and have one booked for tomorrow as well. Busy season, but lots of bees and lots of wax.

No comments:

Post a Comment