A battery is an electrical device used to power appliances and equipment by providing electrical current. A battery has everyday uses at home for torches, generators, computers, electric heaters, watches, and many other tools. While there are commercial batteries that contain corrosive acids, there are also a few simple strategies you can use if you learn how to make homemade batteries using everyday objects you can find in the home.
Teaching your kids about the different processes used to make a homemade battery can be very helpful to them, especially for their science projects. The whole process will help your children understand the laws regarding the conversion of chemical energy into useful electrical power. Using common goods, found in the home, follow the tips below.
Lemon battery. For this, you’ll need some 18-gauge copper wire and wire clippers. Use the clippers to strip both ends of the wire. Cut a 2-inch long piece from a straightened steel paperclip. If you don’t have a paperclip, you can use 2-inch zinc wire. The rough ends of the copper wire and the steel paper clip or zinc wire must be smoothed using coarse sandpaper.
Now, get your lemon and roll it in your hands to soften it. Do not apply too much pressure so as to avoid breaking the lemon skin. Now insert the paperclip and copper wire into the lemon, being careful that they don’t touch.
Attach wires to the ends of the copper and steel or zinc strips. Connect the wire attached to the copper strip to the negative (-) terminal of your volt-meter and the wire attached to the steel or zinc strip to the positive (+) terminal. The circuit is now complete. Notice that the meter registers a small voltage from the current created.
Saltwater battery. Prepare a container large enough to comfortably hold a liter of water and 200 grams of salt. Add these ingredients and mix them together. While the salt is dissolving, prepare your volt-meter, steel wool, magnesium coil, hydrogen-peroxide, pieces of wire leads and alligator clips and a 1.2V bulb with a small base.
Start by inserting the light bulb into the base. Attach wire to each contact of the base. For the magnesium electrode, take the free end of one of the wires and attach it to the coil. For the iron electrode, take the free end of the other wire and link it to the steel wool.
Now light up your bulb by connecting both electrodes (magnesium and iron) to the saltwater. In order to measure the voltage generated, repeat the process using your volt-meter in place of the bulb. Lastly, if you want to boost the voltage capacity, just add some hydrogen-peroxide to your saltwater mixture.
Coin battery. Pour some warm salt water into a bowl. Make sure that you can still see some undissolved salt particles in the bottom of the bowl. In other words, the salt should only be partially dissolved. Gather the other items needed: 6 copper coins, aluminum foil, paper towel, paper plate, tape, scissor, 2 lengths of wire (with the ends stripped) and 1.5V bulb.
Place the coin on top of the aluminum foil, trace out and cut out 6 circles. Repeat process on the paper towel instead of the aluminum foil.
Take one wire, tape its end to one foil circle, and then put it on the paper plate. Now take a circle of paper towel circle, dip it into the bowl, put it on top of the foil circle you placed on the paper plate earlier, and place a coin on top of it.
Repeat the same process until all of the foil circles, paper towel circles, and coins are used. The order should remain the same – foil circle, wet paper towel circle, and then the copper coin. To complete the battery set up, connect the other end of your wire to the uppermost coin.
To test your invention, take the other wire and then attach one end to the battery and the other end to the bulb. In an instant, your bulb should light up.
These days there are devices that use rechargeable batteries. However, with constant usage and heavy charging all day long, the battery will eventually become ineffective. Rather than purchasing another battery, now that you know how to make homemade batteries yourself, you can use your own. You can try making tomato, grapefruit, lime, or orange batteries following the method outlined for the lemon battery above.