Vybar™ is a polymer. A polymer is a high molecular weight organic compound, natural or synthetic, whose structure can be represented by a repeated small unit, the monomer (eg, polyethylene, rubber, cellulose). Synthetic polymers are formed by addition or condensation polymerization of monomers.
Vybar is developed and patented by Baker Hughes. Dozens of variations exist, targeted at different industries. Four of these variations are formulated specifically to be used in candlemaking.
In the first version of this article, written more than twenty years ago, I was talking about Vybar in the singular form, for the simple reason that there was only one version available to candlemakers back then. Nowadays, I should be using the plural form but honestly, I don't think I can get used to that
So just remember that different versions of Vybar are available and always use the version that fits your candlemaking project best.
Vybar has some very desirable effects when you add it to paraffin wax when added Among those:
To add scent to a candle (this is explained in details in the article about Candle scents), you add a certain amount of fragrance oil to the wax. Paraffin wax, due to its chemical composition, only allows for a limited amount of additional oil. The classic proportion of fragrance oil is 1 ounce (28,35 grams) per pound (450 grams) of paraffin but, as 1 ounce is considered by the industry as "double-scented" already, the actual "basic" proportion is 1/2 ounce per pound.
When you visit the website of a candle vendor and see they describe their creations as being "double-scented" or "triple-scented", what they actually mean is that the wax they use contains respectively 1 ounce and 1,5 ounce per pound of paraffin wax.
To bind such an amount of fragrance oil to the paraffin, it is necessary to add a binding agent. This is where Vybar plays an important part.
But caution is required here: too much of this additive and the fragrance oil will become bound so tightly to the paraffin that the scent will be neutralized, properly imprisoned into the wax (which is not the result you are looking for). If you have trouble achieving a strongly scented candle, try and decrease the proportion of Vybar used. 1% is a good starting point. To find the ideal proportion, a little trial and error is unavoidable!
Vybar is commonly used to replace stearic acid (stearin) whenever the use of the latter can cause issues, for example in combination with flexible molds that can be damaged by the acid.
As mentioned earlier, there are four variations of the polymer made to be used in candlemaking even though you'll probably ever need and use one or two of them.
Some suppliers offer a candlemaking additive called Vybar 3451. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any information about it. It is not mentioned on the Baker Hughes website.