the electrodes.The chemistry behind the fruit cell is as follows: zinc is an active metal and willreact readily with an acid. acid's active ingredient is positively-charged hydrogenso a transfer of electrons takes place between the zinc and the acid; the zinc(Zn0) is oxidized to Zn++ and the acid (H+) is reduced to hydrogen gas (H2), which you can see bubbling out around the electrodes.
citrus fruit (e.g., lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
copper nail, screw or wire (about 2" or 5 cm long)
zinc nail or screw or galvanized nail (about 2" or 5 cm long)
light bulbs with 2" or 5 cm leads (enough wire to connect it to thenails)
1. Set the fruit on a table and gently roll in around to soften it up. Youwant the juice to be flowing inside the fruit without breaking its skin.Alternatively, you can squeeze the fruit with your hands.2. Insert the zinc and copper nails into the fruit so that they are about2" or 5 cm apart. You don't want them to be touching each other. Avoidpuncturing through the end of the fruit.3. Remove enough insulation from the leads of the light (about 1") sothat you can wrap one lead around the zinc nail and one lead around the
By Amy Cowen on July 24, 2015 7:00 AM
Explore electricity with a homemade battery in this week's science activity spotlight.
Ever wondered how a battery works to store and generate electricity? With a lemon, a penny, some plastic coated paper clips, and aluminum foil, you can make a fruit-powered battery and really see how the process works! What kinds of materials conduct electricity? What about a lemon makes it capable of producing electricity? The power from a lemon isn't going to be enough to power your cell phone, but in this week's hands-on family science activity, kids can experiment with a homemade, low-voltage battery using a lemon and "feel" the electricity created. Using other projects (see below), families and students can expand the science exploration to other fruits and vegetables and more in-depth investigation.
Lemons may be sour, but in this science activity, getting a charge from a lemon is about electricity, not taste!
Lemons are a great way to experiment with a produce-powered battery, but they are not the only fruit or vegetable you can hook up to generate electricity. With the Veggie Power science kit (and Potato Batteries Science Buddies Project Idea), students can experiment with similar concepts using copper and zinc electrodes. What fruits and vegetables work best? How much power can you generate this way?
See also: Squash Power