What is a Lemon Battery?
A lemon battery is a classic science experiment used to demonstrate the basics of a chemical battery system. To recreate this experiment, you will need one very juicy lemon, a galvanized (zinc-coated) steel nail, a clean copper coin (or section of household copper wiring) and a sensitive voltmeter. Voltmeters can usually be found in the electrical supply section of a hardware store, electronic hobby store or home improvement center. The lemon battery experiment usually begins with a brief lecture on electrons and chemical reaction. The lemon contains a significant amount of acidic juice, which in scientific terminology is an electrolyte. The acid in an electrolyte helps to break down the atomic structure of the copper and zinc, causing individual electrons to be released. Carefully insert the copper coin or household copper wiring into one end of the lemon, then insert the galvanized nail into the opposite end. Make sure the two metals do not make contact with each other. The nail and
Posted with permission of EasyFunSchool.com – 3/09 Science Fun: Make a Lemon Battery We’ve done this project and then tried to use the lemon “battery” to light a small flashlight’s light bulb. The lemons did not work though because the lemons produce only a very small current. This is not enough electric current to light the bulb. Even with several lemons, the amount of current flowing through the wire is not enough. Though the voltage is high enough (1.5 volts with two lemons), the current is too weak. But it was a fun experiment! Equipment and Supplies: 18-gauge copper wire (smaller gauge will work too, but 18-gauge is stiffer) Wire clippers Steel paper clip Sheet of coarse sandpaper Lemon Project Directions: 1. Have your older friend or an adult strip 2 inches of insulation off the copper wire. Clip the 2 inches of bare wire with the clippers. 2. Straighten out the paper clip and cut about 2 inches of the straightened steel wire. 3. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough spots on the end