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Benjamin T.
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 10:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can build a simple 1/2 volt battery with these household materials:
Copper Pennies
Tin Foil
Paper towels
Warm Salty water
Two Pieces of cord, striped ends
Electrical Tape
Earphones

Procedure:
1. Take one penny and trace and cut penny-sized circles from the foil and the paper towel.
1. Tape one piece of cord on to a foil circle.
3. Dip a paper towel circle into the warm salty water and place it onto the other side of the foil circle.
4. Place a penny onto the wet paper circle.
5. Place another foil circle on top of the penny.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 as many times as you like. The bigger the battery, the more powerful it is.
7. When you are done, take the other piece of cord and tape it on top of the last penny layer.
8. Wrap the whole battery with the tape to make a more "Heavy Duty" battery.

Now to test your battery:
Take some earphones or earplugs and press the two leads(cords) from the battery on to the jack on the earphones. Listen. The crackling you hear is the electricity from YOUR BATTERY!

A more simple test: Just touch the two leads to your TONGUE! Don't worry, you won't shock yourself, but you may feel a small tickle.
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Thursday, February 3, 2005 - 11:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is there any other way to make a battery?
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Simon Quellen Field (sfield)
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Post Number: 180
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 3, 2005 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sure.

Basically, a battery is just two different metals
in a liquid that conducts electricity.

Metals that are far apart on the "electromotive
series" (you can Google that) generate the highest
voltages. Some liquids conduct electricity
better than others.

Experiment!
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Monday, February 7, 2005 - 7:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

...do you have any suggestions...
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Monday, February 7, 2005 - 7:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I mean, do you have any suggestions as to what liquids and stuff?
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Simon Quellen Field (sfield)
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Post Number: 187
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, February 7, 2005 - 10:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For those who haven't figured out how to use
Google yet, here is a small portion of the
electromotive series:

Metal Volts
Magnesium -2.34
Beryllium -1.70
Aluminum -1.67
Manganese -1.05
Zinc -0.76
Chromium -0.71
Iron -0.44
Cadmium -0.40
Nickel -0.25
Tin -0.14
Lead -0.13
Hydrogen 0.00
Copper +0.34
Silver +0.80
Palladium +0.83
Platinum +1.20
Gold +1.42


Which metals you choose will determine the voltage of
the battery. For example, choosing magnesium and
gold will get you 1.42 - -2.34, or 3.76 volts.
Choosing aluminum and copper will get you
0.34 - -1.67 or 2.01 volts.

Voltage is only half of what you need for power.
The other half is current, since power (watts) is
the product of voltage (volts) times current (amperes).

To increase the current, you need to increase the
number of charge carriers in the electrolyte (the
liquid between the metals), and increase the
surface area of the metals. The last part is easy
-- use a lot of aluminum foil and big sheets of
copper foil from a hobby store.

To increase the number of charge carriers, use a
strong acid. Since strong acids are dangerous and
not so easy to find around the house, you can try
using vinegar with salt in it. Other things to
try would be various household cleaners for removing
hard water deposits from sinks and coffee pots,
(these producs will list phosphoric acid as an
ingredient).
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Tristan
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Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - 5:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cool!
A battery is just 2 different metals in a cunductive liquid!. But if so. Why does it make electricity?. Is it because different metals have differently charged atoms?.
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Travis
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Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - 8:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not exactly...

Batteries work by exploiting the different number of electrons in different metals. By putting two different metals in a conductive liquid the electrons will move from one metal to another.
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Tristan
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Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 1:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Then why don't the electrons just move through the liquid instead of through the wires?
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 5:04 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

because the path along the wire has less resistance
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Tristan A. Gilmore (tristan)
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Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 10:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks. That explains alot.
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 3:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Simon you said that phosphoric acid work as an electrolyte. Can you use
coke. I heard that coke is stronger than phosphoric acid .
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Post Number: 573
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 2:07 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Coca Cola contains small amounts of phosphoric acid.
It makes a decent electrolyte, but you might want to use
Diet Cola, since it won't leave sugar in the carpet if you
spill it.
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Anonymous
 
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 6:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK
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Lee Joon Hon Alvin (Abcinventor)
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Post Number: 6
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 9:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the battery rechargable?
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Alessandro (Alessandro)
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Post Number: 40
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Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 5:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unfortunately, not the one described here, but a lead plate, a lead oxide plate, and some sulphuric acid will turn into a rechargeable battery. Although I wouldn't recommend building it.
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MadScientist (Madscientist)
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Post Number: 110
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 12:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You have of course, described an easily available product, commonly available as what is known as the common car battery. :-)

As for other types, any acid or base will work as an electrolyte, they just move electrons in opposite directions. If you take any two different metals, or conductive compounds of different metals, or a combination of the two, and submerse them in an acid or base mixture (with water, obviously), you will create a voltiac cell. If it is rechargeable depends on the types of compounds used, and the electrolyte that they are immersed in. As described in Simon's table, you can see that some metals are positively charged, others negative. A rechargeable cell in it's simplest form usually involves a conductive oxide, I wont go into that here. It would be apparent from the list above, that magnesium, gold, and a strong acid (or base) would create a cell potential of 3.76V, however unless you have some magnesium and, more importantly, gold (I highly advise AGAINST asking someone for their wedding ring!) laying around, youre not going to see a cell with this potential. A study on lead and it's oxide, shows a potential of about 2V between them, and since lead (and it's oxide) readily will react with sulfuric acid, You will find them in common use, in the common car battery.

You can find out about common household items, just be careful with certain combinations when trying to 'charge' them. I ran into a situation as a kid where I discovered that a carbon rod, salty water, and aluminum foil don't make a good rechargeable battery. Chlorine gas was liberated, and If you have never had a chlorine headache, this is definitely a way to get one (but i STRONGLY DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING IT!) Chlorine is DEADLY poisonous, and should be avoided at all costs! I often wonder about the possibility of cyanogenic gas, but I am not willing to repeat the experiment to find out! :-)
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Post Number: 759
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Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:29 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Be very careful of your facts on this board -- this group will catch you
on the smallest misstatement. What makes you think the electrons are going
the other way if a base is used as an electrolyte? And the metals aren't
charged -- some are just more likely to react than others.
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MadScientist (Madscientist)
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Post Number: 115
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Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - 9:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I actually wrote it wrong, I was really referring more to just the process (or method) of the chemical reaction. I remember hearing something about a difference in the way an acid and a base actually cause the potential difference. I didnt mean that the polarity would be reversed or anything (as I can see now that I read it more closely where the confusion comes in). Thanks for pointing it out, I dont want to give anyone bad information. :-)
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MadScientist (Madscientist)
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Post Number: 116
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Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - 9:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Charged, ok another bad choice of words, Just referring to it's potential tendency from zero, positive or negative.
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MadScientist (Madscientist)
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Post Number: 118
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 3:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One question comes to mind on this, however, now that you mention it. Why hydrogen for 'zero'? Everything else [mentioned] is a metal. Hydrogen is a gas, unless you live in the center of Jupiter or Saturn (highly unlikely). Not arguing with history, but wouldnt it have made more sense to base something around known metals (I once again ASS-U-ME that since these discoveries happened long ago, the materials available required that these measurements be made with metal electrodes, which would have thrown off any math regarding a 'hydrogen' electrode)?

Hmmmmmmm.....

So how IS it that this is used as a zero reference point?

:-)

I'm sure, as always, I will be made to be look like a fool, but I will take this critisizm with great welcome, because even though I dont completely understand how a hydrogen electrode can be made, I understand that it has only been recently that they have even been able to metallize it, albeit for a fraction of a second, and that how could ANYONE in the [even semi] recent past have used it as an electrode since it is [nearly] impossible to make an electrical connection directly to hydrogen atoms/molecules/whatever.

Get it?

PS I will be severely disappointed if it is a hypothetical 'Zero', because as science has repeatedly proven, hypotheses are regularly disproven. Sigh...
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Post Number: 770
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Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 3:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look up "standard hydrogen electrode".
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Arthur Yip (Peregrineay)
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Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 2:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Madscientist: The element hydrogen can be considered a metal, depending on how you look at it and the periodic table. Just because something is gaseous doesn't mean it's not a metal.
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Indeed. A gas made of Lithium or Sodium would still be a metal,
and would be in the same column in the periodic table as hydrogen.
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Amyas Chew (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Friday, December 9, 2005 - 9:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have tried to make an aluminium-copper vinegar battery for a school project before and one thing I noticed special about this configuration is that since aluminium becomes the anode, the aluminium oxide layer on it thickens (anodising process involved) which increases its electrical resistance and hence reduces its output voltage.
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justine aquino (Mnado)
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Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 6:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

pls answer this questions as soon as possible

1)how long does the vinegar,salt solution work?
2)how many volts does it produce?
3)is it possible to drive a motor using that solution?
4)what is the ratio of the solution?
5)what is my name?
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 11:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can get the answers to #1, #2, and #3 in a couple minutes by doing
the experiment. Much faster than waiting for an answer here.

For #4 you can also experiment. Start with no salt, just vinegar.
Measure the voltage and the current. The gradually add salt. If the
power rises and then starts falling, you have found the optimum ratio.
The salt will prevent the oxide coating mentioned in the previous post.

#5 will be more difficult for you. The rest of us know it, but are sworn
to secrecy. You might try asking your mother, she might know.
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Amyas Chew (Amylase)
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Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 6:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To question #1: It works for a few seconds to a couple of minutes before a reading on a voltmeter gradually starts to fall.

To question #2: Zinc and Copper electrodes yield about 1 volt, while aluminium and copper electrodes yield about 0.2 volts with the oxidation process. However, this is largely dependent on the submerged surface area and the distance between the electrodes.

To question #3: A few of these "batteries" are needed just to power an LED. Hence I don't think that one would be enough to power a motor. I might be wrong though.

I have not tried a vineger-salt solution yet so I can't answer question #4.
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travis Benjamin (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Friday, February 17, 2006 - 2:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

T benjamin it is cool i found this site
the funny part about it is i am doing a science fair project on how to build a battery and there you are
you want to know the other funny part my name T Benjamin too.
I am 11
T Benjamin
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travis Benjamin (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted on Friday, February 17, 2006 - 2:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

T benjamin it is cool i found this site
the funny part about it is i am doing a science fair project on how to build a battery and there you are
you want to know the other funny part my name T Benjamin too.
I am 11
T Benjamin
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Angus Chalmers (Fungus)
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Post Number: 47
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Posted on Friday, February 24, 2006 - 10:22 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

what about NiFe rechargeable batteries? Thats just nickel and iron. Could these be made?
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Troy (Pharoah)
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Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 5:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I found somewhere you can build an aluminum air battery that works pretty well. Google it.
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cool beans (Cool_beans)
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Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 8:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm using pennies and nickel in vinegar with no salt because that's what the directions said. said copper coin, piece of paper towel soaked in vinegar, nickel, paper towel again, copper coin and so on. I did't feel a charge. what am i doing wrong? Help!!!
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 8:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You're trying to feel the charge from the battery?
Presumably with your fingers?

Try a voltmeter instead.

As an experiment, take a nice big fresh D cell and see
if you can feel the current from it.
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cool beans (Cool_beans)
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Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 8:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes i'm trying to feel the charge with my fingers because the directions supposedly said that i would. this project is supposed to be designed for 2nd 3rd graders using simple household stuff and it's not working.

what do i do to the d cell to feel its current?
thanks
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cool beans (Cool_beans)
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Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 9:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

okay i'm going to type what the directions said.

pour the venegar into the bowl. Soak the paper strips in the vinegar. Make a pile of the coins, alternating copper, and the other metal. separate each kind with one of the vinegar soaked paper strips. Moisten one fingertip on each hand and hold the pile of coins between those fingers. You get a slight electric shock.

that's it.
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MadScientist (Madscientist)
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Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 8:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ahh, the Voltiac pile.

In theory, this will work fine, provided the following:

Youre going to need a LOT of these cells, for one. Lets say that even if you come up with a metal combination that provides 1 volt from each cell, you would need 60 or so of them to even BEGIN to feel it (and that is with wet fingers).

For two, make sure that the paper towels are not touching each other. If they do, the cell is effectively shorted out, and will produce little or no voltage. It probably wouldnt hurt to wipe the outside of the 'pile' dry, so that there is no conduction directly from the liquid 'electrolyte' (the vinegar/salt) dripping down the side of the pile, which would also short the cells out.

3 - nickel:paper towel:penny:nickel:paper towel:penny:nickel and so on. Don't put a paper towel between EACH coin, or you will be cancelling out each cell with the one on top of it. This is because even though you will effectively be creating twice as many cells, each one will be reversed with respect to the ones on either side of it. 1+(-1)+1+(-1)+1+(-1)=0, not 6. Follow?

Four, it can be (and IS, if you intend to make a large enough voltage to feel) VERY time consuming to make such a device [properly], and doesn't give much result. I have however seen one successfully light up a neon bulb, with aluminum and copper plate w/ salt/vinegar for electrolyte. Granted, however, not for all that long, and definitely not as long as a stack of 9 volt batteries [CAUTION!] - that being said:

Last but not least, if you are "hellbent", as the saying goes, on making one that you can feel, remember that it doesnt take much current to hurt (or worse) you, or whoever touches the ends of such a device, seriously.

Please be careful. If you're in doubt, you can make one 5 or 6 stacks high, and see the effect, as Simon said, with a volt meter.

Maybe even light up an LED? Dunno, never tried it. :-)

(Message edited by madscientist on April 27, 2006)
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James Lee (Necrofear)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 7:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

could you make a battery with an alligator test lead and some salty water and a magnet???
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 7:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The alligator clip lead is made of zinc coated steel.
So if the magnet is made of some other metal, the answer is yes.
Whether or not it is a magnet is irrelevant.
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ashish mehndiratta (Dexter)
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Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

a battery can also be made by taking urine as the liquid
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Simon Quellen Field (Sfield)
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Posted on Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 5:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There's nothing special about Dexter's favorite liquid.
All you need is a liquid that has ions that can carry charge,
and most liquids you come across are in that category, being
water based.
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Harris Sh (Pyrohaz)
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Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2007 - 8:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey! i mage the battery using a beaker filled with vinegar and aslt, i used tin foil and copper to try and make the battery, i succedded and used it as my science project, what i noticed though was that if i put voltage back into the battery, was that it retained a higher than normal voltage then slowly started to recline! so could this battery be slightly rechargeable?

Haz
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Innes Poopface (Princess_mellow)
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Posted on Saturday, February 9, 2008 - 11:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

According to your results yes. BUT if you try to recharge it it will probably act as a piece of wire generating a tiny charge of what was left over.
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Kasper Emil Feld (Magnetfeld)
Advanced Member
Username: Magnetfeld

Post Number: 51
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Monday, February 11, 2008 - 5:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is also likely that you are making a fuel cell. Driving a current through the electrolyte you will generate a bit if hydrogen and oxygen in tiny bubbles on the electrodes, and that reaction can then go in reverse (or since the katode is likely less electronegative than hydrogen, it is probably only the oxygen that will react back).

By the way remember that in these simple batteries the anode (the copper) NEEDS acces to oxygen, bubbling air through the solution around the anode migth significantly increase the effect of the battery.
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Kevin (Kevin)
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Username: Kevin

Post Number: 1
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 6:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can someone explain in simple terms of how the battery works. Before you blurt out 'go search it', I have been. I have an idea but need a little clarification.

I understand that a proton(+) and an electron(-) have opposite charges, that they attract each other, and that electrons move from the negative terminal to the positive. The battery also consists of two different metals in a solution made of ions. These ions are made up of atoms that either carry an extra electron or are lacking one.

The metals are unique and have a different electron count in the atoms. This difference, from what I understand is what causes the electromotive force. The chart up above with the various metals and volts is useful in understanding the difference in force. A combination of different metals will result in a different voltage output.

Alright, so we have two different metals, each with a different electron count in a solution. In the examples above either salty water, vinegar, or um, urine. From what I understand, the two metals will want to have a neutral charge. Meaning there will be a transfer of electrons from the higher metal on the electromotive series graph up above (since electrons are negative) to a lower metal on the chart.

I most likely need to be corrected on some of my statements above. What I need clarification on is when you connect the two terminals of the battery to a simple bulb, electrons flow from the negative terminal (anode) through the wire, through the bulb and out to the positive terminal (cathode).

Here are some questions. What I don't understand is what is going on in the battery. From the articles I've read, electrons gather on the negative terminal.

(Q1)Why though? What causes this build up of electrons on the anode? Something I assume to do with the solution. If there is a build up on the negative terminal and a wire connected, then I guess the electrons move to the positive terminal where the terminal attracts the electrons because of fewer electrons.

(Q2)Are any electrons lost in the transfer through the wire and bulb from one terminal to the other? The bulb produces heat because of the resistance of current to the electrons. Does anything happen to the electrons as they move through the bulb? Does every electron that leaves the negative terminal arrive at the positive terminal?

(Q3)What happens to the metals? Do they dissolve as electrons are being taken from one metal and transferred to the other or does the metal lose all of it's electrons?

(Q4)Does the solution conduct electricity? What is it's ultimate purpose?

As you can see, I have a small idea of what is going on by doing some reading and by typing it out, I might have either cleared it up a bit or showed my lack of understanding. I still have a few points that need to be cleared up that I would very much be grateful if someone clarifies them for me and for all others that will read this. Thanks.
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Kasper Emil Feld (Magnetfeld)
Advanced Member
Username: Magnetfeld

Post Number: 58
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 9:39 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Okay. Imagine you have a zink electrode dipped in a solution. The metal you can imagine as Zn2+ ions sitting in a "sea" of electrons. There has to be just about enough ions to balance the charge of the ions, but not nescesarily exactly. If an ion leaves the electrode and go into solution it will leave two electrons behind:

Zn(s) -> Zn2+ + 2e-

They can't all do this however because of the electric field the sepparation of the charges will produce, so and equilibrium will be established. (In reality it is a VERY little part of the metal that disolves this way without help, the equilibrium is there almost instantly).

Now if you have a copper electrode dipped in a solution of copper ions the same kind of equilibrium will be pressent there. Now because of the difference between the metals, copper ions are less likely to leave the metal, and more likely to go back on (se the list above). Therefore the excess of electrons will be bigger on the zinc.

Now if you allow two electrons to escape from the zink, another ion can leave it too. And if you then put the electrons on the copper i allows another copper ion to join the metal.

Overall this gains energy since the zink was more negatively charged. It can't go on forever, however, since an electric field would build up between the two solutions, therefore they have to be in contact and be able to exchange ions that wil neutralize this field. Those ions can be vinegar, table salt or anything. That, I believe, ansers Q4.

Now at one electrode we have:

Zn(s) -> Zn2+ + 2e-

At the other:

Cu2+ + 2e- -> Cu(s)

and some ions move to balance the electrons moving through the wire.

Overall the reaktion is:

Zn(s) + Cu2+ -> Zn2+ + Cu(s)

That is Zink disolves and copper precipitates, which produces energy because the metals are different.


Now in the simply element described in this thread there is little disolved copper and the electrons end up another place, namely on oxygen. The copper simply acts as a catalyst. Zink still disolves normaly, but the reaction an the copper is:

O2 + 2H2O + 4e- -> 4OH- (put in at 0,4V at above list)

That is the reaktion giving energy is the slow oxidizing "burning" of zink into disolved zinkhydroxide.

So to answer your questions:

Q1: Disolving of an electropositive metal.

Q2: No the electrons are not lost. Non compensated loss of a fraction of somethings electrons give rise to EXTREME electric fields. This cost lots of energy and therefor rarely happens.

Q3: The negative electrode disolves, the positive is usually unaffected.

Q4: It conducts ions, so yes and no. Current can't pass from metal (current of electrons) to solution (ions) without some reaktion going on at the interface. Its purpose is to complete the cirquit and thus alow the reaktion to happen. Se above.
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Kevin (Kevin)
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Username: Kevin

Post Number: 2
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 11:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First off, I've been doing a little reading on chemistry to further try and understand what is going on. Kasper wrote the above reply of putting a zinc electrode into a 'sea of electrons'. You wrote it at first as Zn2+ ions, which I've come to understand as Zinc being deficient of 2 electrons, hence the positive charge.

I'm still trying to break all this down so let me see if I can clear this up. I think what I need to understand is what happens to the metals when they are in the solution alone.

If you put a zinc bar into a solution without any other metals, does that bar become Zn2+ and is that what is meant here: (Zn(s) -> Zn2+ + 2e-)? Or does that mean the zinc bar is dissolving into the solution and the solution now contains Zn2+ ions and 2e-, the two electrons which were released from the Zn2+?
Also known as oxidation?

When you wrote (Cu2+ + 2e- -> Cu(s) does that mean you put a piece of copper into a solution without any other metals? Is this what happens when it is in the same solution with the zinc ions or is this what happens when it is in the solution alone? If this is what happens when it is with the zinc ions, what happens to it when it is in the solution alone? Is this reduction or does reduction happen only when it is with the zinc ions.

I'm sorry that it might seem I'm taking a step back, but sometimes you need to in order to take two steps forward. Any input on this process will be helpful. Thanks and I appreciate your responses.
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Nathan Kraft (Cy2011)
New member
Username: Cy2011

Post Number: 1
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 5:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey I was wondering what the best way to raise the amps on a homemade battery. I have no trouble getting the volts I want but the amps are almost nonexistent. If anyone knows a good idea for uping the amps I would be happy to hear it and would be eternally grateful (this is for a science project due next week!!). Oh and one more question... What is the best electrolyte that is non-toxic and can also be found in a normal house or could be bought without too much hassle.
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Theresa Simmons (Theresa)
Member
Username: Theresa

Post Number: 20
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 6:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1. Increase the surface area of the electrodes. You can do this by building
a bigger battery, or by putting several batteries in parallel.
2. Vinegar and salt.
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Kasper Emil Feld (Magnetfeld)
Advanced Member
Username: Magnetfeld

Post Number: 62
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 2:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin: The Zink bar is Zn(s), a neutral species of zink. But the electrons are not localised in the metalic zink.

It is the metal itself that you may imagine as Zn2+ ions sitting at fixed spots, and the remaining 2 electrons from each atom being all over the place throughout the zink bar.

Now a neutral zink atom can't go into solution, but a 2+ ion can, so it has to leave its electrons - which it wasn't tigthly bounds to anyway - back in the zink metal.

There are no free electrons in the solution, only water molecules and ions. In a metal, the so called valence electrons are free to move within the metal.

Zn(s) -> Zn2+ + 2e- meant metalic zinc (Zn(s) the s meaning solid) becomes a zinc ion in solution and 2 electrons left back as surplus in the remainder metal.
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Rohan (Digital)
New member
Username: Digital

Post Number: 2
Registered: 3-2008
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2008 - 2:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

how u people write so much
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Theresa Simmons (Theresa)
Intermediate Member
Username: Theresa

Post Number: 23
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2008 - 10:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The trick is to keep hitting the little buttons on the keyboard until
you have communicated all the information you have that is relevant
to the question. For some people, that is not as much as for others.

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