More than 5,000 trench candles made by students, lecturers and employees of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, as well as caring residents of Kyiv during the day of December 3-4, will warm the defenders of our state at the frontline. This is a record for Ukraine.

On the International Volunteer Day students, lecturers, employees of the university, with the participation of volunteers and caring citizens, set a Ukrainian record for making trench candles for our soldiers at the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The event was organized by the Students Trade Union Committee. The record was put on the National Register of Records of Ukraine, where it was stated that 5,359 trench candles were made by hand at one location during 24 hours.

At exactly 10:00 a.m. on December 3, 2022, in the meeting hall of the Students Trade Union Committee of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, the record registry expert Vitalii Zorin launched the fight for the record. And immediately, work started moving along in high gear in all the rooms of the trade union committee. At first, the action seemed to be complete chaos to the correspondent of "KP" who was present. But later it became noticeable that this "chaos" is actually not a mess, but a streamlined process. Inna Bednarska, a teacher of the Department of Thermal and Alternative Energy of the Educational and Research Institute of Institute of Nuclear and Thermal Energy and one of the organizers of the event, helped to understand this. With full concentration on the process of making candles, she talked about everything related to this action.

- The idea of making trench candles was born in our group of volunteers headed by Ihor Stepaniuk, the Chairman of the Students Trade Union Committee of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute at the beginning of September. We understood that winter is approaching and our defenders need to be warmed up. So, we had to come up with something other than what we had been doing before (previously, let us say, there had been fundraising for a drone, a car, a battery, etc.). And among all the ideas, priority was given to the manufacturing of trench candles.

- Why trench candles?

- Soldiers started using such candles in the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone in 2014 . It should be immediately noted that one trench candle can save a person from cold weather injury of, for example, feet. Guys from the front line told how the candles were used. So, in the open air, they put our candle at their feet, light it, and it warms the serviceman in the trench. In addition to this main function, it can be used to dry shoes and other things. In 10 minutes, a candle, which can work as a burner, boils 2 liters of water. We have checked, it is true. Depending on the format of the can in which the candle is formed, its burning time is on average 4-6 hours.

- And now, Inna, tell us a little more about the manufacturing technology.

- The technological process is quite simple. It is necessary to roll up the cardboard and insert it into the can along its entire perimeter. A wick made of the same cardboard is inserted there, too. Then the can with cardboard is filled with melted paraffin or a mixture of paraffin, wax and stearin. By the way, we learned what could increase the burning time and calorific value of a candle from messages in the Facebook group "Trench Candles" and thanks to our own research. It turned out that it was better to use a mixture in the following proportion: 40% paraffin, 40% wax and 20% stearin - then the candle burns for a long time and emits enough heat. It stands to mention that its entire surface burns at the same time, not just the place where the wick is located. You can quench such a candle by turning it upside down or covering it with something that will limit the access of air. Today from 10:00 a.m. and throughout the day in several rooms of the trade union committee, you can see the entire process chain - from the preparation of cardboard, melting and pouring paraffin to the packaging of hardened candles.

- Where and how do you get materials for manufacturing?

- First of all, we use resources that were thrown away as garbage or for recycling. Tins of green peas, corn, or cat food are brought to us by people who learned about our activities, apparently from social networks. A large batch of cans was provided to us by the "Mira Help" Charitable Foundation from the city of Sumy - 5,400 in total, and it is these that we are using today to set a record. Cardboard is also brought to us by people, as well as "Nova Poshta", "Rozetka", a chain of restaurants located near us. We have an interesting story about paraffin. To buy it, we first collected funds, because paraffin is not cheap - 1 kg costs UAH 100, and this kilogram is enough for about 4 cans. That is quite costly. But the already mentioned "Mira Help" foundation helped us again - they brought as much as 2 tons. We also use wax, which was mostly brought by beekeepers, and stearin, which we simply buy.

- Today you are going for a record with the goal of exceeding the declared 2000 candles. And how many were manufactured in the past months and where were they sent?

- Before the start of the fight for the record, we made and sent more than 4,500 candles to the frontline. Thanks to this, our soldiers in the Kherson direction, in the Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts received approximately 22,500 hours of warmth. The candles were also sent to Sloviansk, Bakhmut, Kramatorsk, intelligence units - and this is still an incomplete list. Logistics is executed according to the 50/50 scheme: if the customers can pick the candles up themselves, they will pick them up, if not - we will send the candles by "Nova Poshta".

And some statistics to top it all. More than 250 dedicated people were involved in the manufacturing of 5,359 trench candles, 1 ton of paraffin and 482 square meters of cardboard were used. According to Ihor Stepaniuk, two and a half times more candles were made than had been planned. Dozens of people responded to the call of the Students Trade Union Committee of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute to take part in setting the record. During the work, there were two blackouts and one air alarm, the necessary safety measures were taken, but all these did not stop the work. And what is most important, many requests from the military were satisfied, because immediately after the record had been set, the organizers began handing candles to Ukrainian soldiers at the frontline.

Volodymyr Shkolnyi

Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Set a Record for Ukraine

For a whole day, students, teachers, employees of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and volunteers were making trench candles. A total of 5359 trench candles were manufactured!

The record of Kyiv Polytechnicians was put on the National Register of Records.

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