The power of lemons
I had an ‘electrical set’ made for children and it included some containers, electrodes, and copper sulphate with which to make a battery.
Excitedly, I made the battery and used it to power a light bulb, but no light came out.
And however I checked it over, still no light came out.
It is a wonder that I was ever interested in chemistry or electricity again.
Come forward a few (!) of years and such experiments are encouraged in school, it seems.
Eight year-old Ella Ray has to make electricity for her school project and, being a good dad, one of the Electronics Weekly team has been helping out a bit to make sure she doesn’t have a disappointing time.
And just to be clear here, there is no cheating going on, parents are supposed to be getting involved.
Anyway, for all you parents out there who might need to do something similar, here are his findings:
galvanised nails (zinc electrodes)
wire cut from single-strand mains cable (copper electrodes)
coins (more electrodes)
A slightly ancient low-power red LED
A set of croc clips from Maplins
Make six lemon cells and connect them in series.
Connect the LED to make a circuit, try the LED both ways around.
But at first, the light was barely visible.
Closing the gap between the electrodes reduced the light further. (Anyone know why? – reply below please).
Expand the distance between the electrodes, and light increases noticeably.
Good Luck Ella