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Practical Problem re melting points

  1. Dec 27, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    I am posting as a layman, whose 16 year old son has been issued with a court summons for criminal damage against a neighbour's car and driveway.

    A few weeks ago my son thoughtlessly emptied a small glass candle jar out of his upstairs bedroom window into what he thought was the hedge. Unfortunately it went over my neighbour's block paving driveway and his daughter's Vauxhall Corsa. He is claiming criminal damage of £2500 to relay his driveway (the exact block is out of production and he refuses to let us try to clean it up) and £450 for a respray of what he claims is blistered paint on th car roof caused by the hot wax. I suspect that the damage was already there.

    As a layman it seems to me implausible that molten wax would blister car paint, and I have even proved as such on my own car, but can anyone help me to prove it for the purposes of a court case? Is there a table of melting / boiling point of matrials, which would show this cannot happen? Sorry to take up space on this forum but I am determined to prevent my son getting a criminal record just because my neighbour is trying it on....
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    It might be in your and your son's interest to consult a lawyer in regards to damages and criminal record, since you mention a summons for criminal damage.

    He/she might advise you whether the distance from the window to the hedge, driveway and car would have some bearing on whether the tossing out the window of hot wax could be considered a thoughtless act or one of intent by the court.
  4. Dec 28, 2012 #3
    Thanks, a lawyer is on the case but we just needed a pointer for the definitivee answer
  5. Dec 28, 2012 #4
    You could take piece of sheet metal similar to that of the car, coat it with a sample of automotive grade paint and demonstrate in the courtroom the effects of hot wax on the paint,and submit the piece of metal as evidence. It may or may not work, but if your claim is correct then no damage would be done.
  6. Dec 28, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    The oil in the candle was may soak in and stain a porous driveway paver but I'd want to wait for summer to see if it evaporates in the hot sun.

    For the car: cars can get hotter on a normal sunlit summer day than candle wax, plus candle wax has an extremely low heat capacity (which is why you can dip your finger in it and not get burned), so I don't see any way it could possibly damage a car's paint job. My advice would be to measure the surface temperature of a car's hood with the engine running (may be difficult in winter....) and compare it to the "pouring temperature" of candle wax, which tops out at about 190F (88C): http://www.nuscentscandle.com/melt-point-and-pour-candle-wax-temperature-chart/ [Broken]

    rlingineni's idea is good too, but I'd modify it slightly: go to a junkyard and find an exterior body panel with a factory paint job to test. You may even want to bake it in your oven or dip it in boiling water to see if anything happens.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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