Fruits and vegetables produce electricity by acting as the electrolyte portion of a battery cell. The other two components of a battery are the negative electrode called the anode, and the positive electrode called the cathode. Any fruit or vegetable with juice that contains starch, sugar or acid can act as a battery's electrolyte, enabling the fruit or vegetable when coupled with two opposing electrodes (a positive and a negative) to create voltage, or battery power. Favourite fruits and vegetables for making batteries are lemons, onions and potatoes.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Strip of zinc
- Strip of copper
- Vegetable or fruit
- Two battery cables each with metal clips on both ends
- Small battery operated digital clock with LED display
Create juice inside the skin or peel of a whole vegetable or piece of fruit by squeezing it, or rolling it against a hard surface.
Push the strips of zinc and copper into the piece of fruit or the vegetable, making sure no part of one touches the other.
Clip the end of one cable to the copper sticking out of the fruit or vegetable, and clip an end of the other cable to the zinc sticking out of the fruit or vegetable.
Take off the cover of the battery compartment from the bottom or back of the digital clock and remove the batteries.
Identify the positive and negative battery contact points inside the clock's empty battery compartment. The positive battery contact is marked with a plus (+) sign, the negative is marked with a negative (-) sign.
Hold the end of the cable attached to the strip of copper to the positive battery contact point, and hold the end of the cable attached to the zinc strip to the negative contact point.
Look at the face of the clock and verify that the LED display is powered up.
Tips and warnings
- If the LED display is not powered up and lit, try a different fruit or vegetable with a higher starch or acid content.
- Do not eat any vegetables or pieces of fruit used in battery making.
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