With the prototype of the product being settled, the remaining thing to do is to find ways to market it. Right now, the ceramic cup containing the candle is a poor conductor of heat, hence the cup will get really hot after a while. To combat such a problem, we added 1 layer of bubble wrap and 1 thin layer of styrofoam to insulate the candle. The bubble wrap also serves as a cushion, in the event that the cup is dropped, but it can only absorb a limited amount of impact. Glow-in-the-dark paint was also applied to enhance visibility, particularly at night. Given that the candle will be mainly used at light for illumination purposes, the glow-in-the-dark paint helps users to identify the candle in areas of low visibility.
As the same type of candle was used throughout thus far, the next hurdle faced was finding the method to continuously burn the leftover liquefied wax. Considering that the flame will die out once the wick burns out, the group thought of ways to increase the lifespan of the wick.
In the end, the group decided on lengthening the wick. This can be done attaching another DIY wick onto the original candle wick, or having candles with longer wicks that protrude out from the base of the candle. The wick is then coiled around the base of the candle, allowing the liquefied to be combusted continuously, effectively prolonging the life of the candle.
More variations will be produced, dependent on the size and shape of the candle, which in turn will affect the size of the cup. Also, the product will be further refined by insulating it, allowing it to be portable.
Despite agreeing on using a plate as the vessel, the group realized that it does not support the candle well, as wind from all directions can still knock the candle over. Worse, the liquefied wax could spill over if the falling candle displaces it from the plate, creating a fire hazard.
The group purchased a ceramic cup that could adequately fit the candle, and tests carried out on it ensured that the candle does not collapse easily. Even if it does, there is a limited radius around the cup where the flame of the candle can reach. Once the candle has been used up to a certain height, assuming that there is no external human disturbances, it would be virtually impossible to knock it over (with the exception of earthquakes).
Upon presentation to the judges, it was accepted that this invention was feasible. However, there was a need to explain the viability of such an invention, as a side-by-side comparison with other products were not similar enough, due to differences in purpose and context.
Also, the product also lacked sufficient evidence to back up our claims. Statistical evidence, as well as the creation of the raw product (prior to refining it) has to be confirmed in order to ascertain the claims.
The greatest concern of the group was whether a finalized version of the product could be made, and subsequently, whether if it would be successful.
Now, the focus was on finding the most efficient design. While we were able to freely manipulate how the shape of the collected wax would look like, we needed to ensure that all of it would be combusted.
Many designs were considered. In the end, we settled on a plate as the shape of the vessel. While the vessel needs to be affordable, it cannot be made of plastic, as the flame would eventually burn through the plastic, possibly spreading to nearby flammable materials. As such, fire-insulating materials, such as porcelain or clay, would be used to ensure that the flame is contained within the vessel. Also, the shape of the plate helps to ensure that the wax can be burnt evenly, similar to the concept of oil lamps.
We had to retain and collect the candle wax. Birthday candles were instantly out of the question, as their long, thin design meant that the wax would not be able to solidify in the vessel supporting the candle. Instead, it meant that the wax would solidify on the structure of the candle itself. Therefore, we would be unable to reuse the wax fully if the wick burns out.
A solution was found when we used short, thick wax candles. Their short height meant that the liquefied wax had to travel a shorter distance before it is collected in the vessel supporting the candle, and would lose less heat to the surroundings. Subsequently, the wax would be collected and solidified into any shape we desire – it is dependent on the shape of the vessel.
Re-Lit was an idea that popped out of the blue. Our group noted that candles were often used for decorative purposes, and were discarded when their use for the occasion expired. We felt that the candles that were discarded still possessed a lot of fuel, hence it would be able to keep burning for a long while. Also, they are in mint condition, and simply throwing them away is not efficiently using the candle.
As such, we set off searching for a way to counter this problem. First, we settled on having 3rd world countries as our main target audience, with certain organizations in 1st world countries being focused on as well. These organizations utilize candles in their day-to-day activities, such as religious places of worship or even restaurants.
Upon further discussion with our mentor, we decided to carry on with this project. Along the way, we set targets for us to meet such that we are able to produce a refined product with the highest quality. We also felt that this project was especially meaningful, as it would spread awareness about the plight that those living in 3rd world countries face, and it would also show how many of us take such a luxury for granted and not fully appreciate its value.
Re-Lit was born.