How to create a battery from a lemon

Introduction: How to Make a Lemon Battery

In this instructable you will learn how to create a lemon battery. The lemons create about 4 and a half volts, enough to run something that uses low voltage. The lemons produce this voltage through the process of electrolysis which is the chemical reaction produced by passing an electric current through a liquid or solution containing ions. The juice of the lemon acts as the solution and the copper and steal create an electrical circuit allowing electrical current to flow through the solution. This current can be harnessed through copper wire which you can attach to whatever you are trying to give power. Good Luck!

-4 galvanized nails

Step 1: Before

Spread out your lemons on a flat surface (not needed, but makes it easier). Label your lemons 1, 2, and 3, then lay them out in order. This makes the following directions easier to follow.

Step 2: Lemon 1

Stick one of the nails into the left side of lemon number 1. Then on the opposite side of lemon number one put in a penny. You do this to create a circuit from the nail to the penny.

Step 3: Lemon 2

Stick two nails into the left side of lemon number 2. Then stick two pennies into the opposite sides of the nails in lemon number 2. You put two nails and 2 pennies in because they pass create more electrical current creating more voltage.

Step 4: Lemon 3

Stick a nail into the left side of lemon number 3. Then stick a penny into the opposite side of the nail in lemon number 3. This makes the circuit go through all the lemons once the copper wires are attached.

Step 5: Lemon 1 Wire

Attach of one the copper wires to the nail already in lemon number 1. If you have alligator clips just attach one end to the nail. If you have just copper wire you can wrap it around the nail. This wire will connect to whatever you are trying to power at the end of the project.

Step 6: Connecting Lemon 1 and Lemon 2

Attach one end of the copper wire to the penny already in lemon number 1. Then attach the other end of the copper wire to either of the nails. This creates a circuit between lemon number 1 and lemon number 2.

Step 7: Connecting Lemon 2 and Lemon 3

Attach one end of a copper wire to the penny across from the nail with the copper wire attached to already in lemon number 2. Then attach the other end of the copper wire to the nail already in lemon number 3. This creates a circuit between lemon number 2 and lemon number 3.

Step 8: Lemon 3 Wire

Attach one end the of the remaining copper wire to the penny already in lemon number 3. This allows the circuits power to be harnessed on both sides of the lemon so it can have a positive and negative side like a battery.

Step 9: Conclusion

By now you have created a lemon battery. You will now be able to run an object that requires low voltage. The copper wire attached the nail on lemon 1 is the negatively charged side. The copper wire attached to penny on lemon 3 is the positively charged side. To power the object you can clip the negatively charged wire to the negative side of battery socket, or to the negative side if it does no run on batteries, and you can clip the positively charged wire to the positive side of the battery socket, or the positive side if it does not run of batteries. Thank you!

Use fruit to generate electricity for a light bulb

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How to create a battery from a lemon

Tim Oram / Getty Images

If you have a piece of fruit, a couple of nails, and some wire, then you can generate enough electricity to turn on a light bulb. Making a fruit battery is fun, safe, and easy.

What You Need

To make the battery you will need:

  • Citrus fruit (e.g., lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • Copper nail, screw, or wire (about 2 in. or 5 cm long)
  • Zinc nail or screw or galvanized nail (about 2 in. or 5 cm long)
  • Small holiday light with 2 in. or 5 cm leads (enough wire to connect it to the nails)

Make a Fruit Battery

Here’s how to make the battery:

  1. Set the fruit on a table and gently roll it around to soften it up. You want the juice to be flowing inside the fruit without breaking its skin. Alternatively, you can squeeze the fruit with your hands.
  2. Insert the zinc and copper nails into the fruit so that they are about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart. Don’t let them touch each other. Avoid puncturing through the end of the fruit.
  3. Remove enough insulation from the leads of the light (about 1 in. or 2.5 cm) so that you can wrap one lead around the zinc nail and the other lead around the copper nail. You can use electrical tape or alligator clips to keep the wire from falling off the nails.
  4. When you connect the second nail, the light will turn on.

How a Lemon Battery Works

Here are the science and chemical reactions regarding a lemon battery (you can try making batteries from other fruits and from vegetables):

  • The copper and zinc metals act as positive and negative battery terminals (cathodes and anodes).
  • The zinc metal reacts with the acidic lemon juice (mostly from citric acid) to produce zinc ions (Zn 2+ ) and electrons (2 e – ). The zinc ions go into solution in the lemon juice while the electrons remain on the metal.
  • The wires of the small light bulb are electrical conductors. When they are used to connect the copper and zinc, the electrons that have built upon the zinc flow into the wire. The flow of electrons is current or electricity. It’s what powers small electronics or lights a light bulb.
  • Eventually, the electrons make it to the copper. If the electrons didn’t go any farther, they’d eventually build up so that there wouldn’t be a potential difference between the zinc and the copper. If this happened, the flow of electricity would stop. However, that won’t happen because the copper is in contact with the lemon.
  • The electrons accumulating on the copper terminal react with hydrogen ions (H + ) floating free in the acidic juice to form hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen atoms bond to each other to form hydrogen gas.

More Science

Here are additional opportunities for research:

Electricity experiments are popular with the kids. However, it is not always true that electricity experiments need complex circuitry and powerful batteries. For starters, the lemon battery science project is ideal to let the young learners know the basics. Besides, they will be thrilled when low power bulbs light up as a result of their efforts. The project requires close adult supervision.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery Experiment

Hypothesis

It is possible to produce electric current using the acidic properties of lemon. When you attach two electrodes to a lemon and touch your tongue to both of them at the same time, it completes an electrical circuit, making an electric current pass through the tongue, giving it a tingling sensation or a metallic taste.

Materials

  • Lemon
  • 18 gauge copper wire or a copper penny
  • Steel paper clip, a small strip of zinc or a galvanized nail
  • Wire stripper or clipper

How to Make a Lemon Battery

  1. Use the wire strippers to strip off about 2.5 inches of plastic insulation from the copper wire. Then cut that piece from the main roll. This serves as the positive electrode or the cathode. If you are using a penny, make a small slit in the lemon with a knife before placing a penny snugly within it with about a third of it exposed.
  2. Straighten up the steel paper clip carefully. Cut the same length from it as the copper wire. Either this or the galvanized nail or zinc strip is the anode or the negative electrode.
  3. Use the sandpaper to make the edges of the two electrodes smooth as they would serve as the junction points of the electrical circuit. If you are using zinc as an electrode, scratch its surface lightly to expose a fresh surface.
  4. Roll the lemon gently on a table to loosen the soft pulp and allow the juice to flow inside. Be careful not to rupture the skin of the lemon, though.
  5. Insert the copper wire by 1 inch into the lemon.
  6. After ensuring that your tongue is moist with saliva, touch it to the copper wire. Make an observation regarding what you feel.
  7. Insert the paper clip, zinc strip or nail into the lemon keeping a distance of ¼th inch from the first insertion point. Ensure that the two electrodes do not touch each other at any point.
  8. Now, make contact with your moist tongue to both the exposed ends of the electrodes at the same time. Make an observation again regarding the sensation in your tongue.

How Many Volts Does a Lemon Battery Produce

It depends on what metal wire you are using for the anode and cathode. You can take notes of the amount of voltage produced by using different wires so you can monitor the outcome in future.

Though the voltage produced in this experiment is near about a volt that is well within safety limits, those of you who do not desire any physical contact with the equipment can test the electric current and voltage by connecting a multimeter to the electrodes. They need to connect the leads of the device with the lemon battery with the help of alligator clips.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery Science Fair Project

Lemon Battery Science Fair Project Video

How Does a Lemon Battery Work?

A battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy. The electrodes here are made to come into contact with the lemon juice that is nothing but citric acid, an electrolyte. As a result, a chemical reaction ensues and electrons start to get accumulated at the anode. However, positive charges build up at the cathode. As soon as a conducting material (your tongue) establishes a connection between the electrodes, the electrons get a chance to flow from the cathode to the anode forming an electric current. When you touch your tongue to the copper wire only, before connecting the zinc strip, no reaction occurs. Hence, you feel nothing on your tongue in the absence of electric current.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery Diagram

Things You Can Try for Better Results

You will find that the voltage produced by a single lemon powered battery is not enough to light a small bulb or LED. However, if you connect a number of lemon batteries in series, you will find the resultant electricity sufficient to light an LED. Try that out by making around four to five lemon batteries and connecting the anode of one with the cathode of the next with a copper wire, for the entire set. Connect the LED bulb in between the copper wire and zinc strip left free at the extreme ends to see the results. A digital clock or calculator with its regular battery removed can also be made to work with this homemade battery.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery LED

You can plot a graph with the number of lemon batteries in the circuit as the independent variable (X-axis) and the voltage generated as measured by a multimeter, as the dependent variable (Y-axis). Check the nature of curve obtained. Instead of a lemon, you can try other acidic foods like potatoes, citrus fruits like orange or lime to make the battery.

Electricity projects give you immediately observable results and the quantities involved can be easily measured. Hence, kids will learn a lot in a fun way.

Did you know you can create your own electricity from fruit? Yep! In this amazign lemon battery your children will use a couple simple materials to make a lemon powered light. This lemon battery experiment is perfect for kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students to explore creating a circuit. Except in this case, we will get our electricity from lemon power! This electricity experiment for kids is sure to amaze and delight kids of all ages!

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery

Did you know that the acid from fruit allows you to use it as a source of electricity? Help kids explore electricity for kids as they explore this amazing lemon battery experiment. Like the infamous potato clock, this lemon battery is a classic experiment that every child should try at least once. Your elementary age students from grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 will be amazed at the lemon powered light. This is a great introduction to how electricity works, circuits, and more fun electricity experiments.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon Battery Experiment

All you need to try this fun fruit battery experiment are a few simple materials:

  • 6 lemons
  • 6 nails or large paper clips
  • heavy copper wire (with or without plastic coating)
  • wire cutters or heavy scissors
  • 1 LED light bulb (like from string of Christmas lights)
  • electrical tape

Electricity from Lemon

Start by cutting the copper wire into

  • 6 pieces of 8-inches length
  • 2 pieces of 10-inch length

If you got the plastic coating wire, cut off about 1-inch of the plastic insulation from both ends of each wire.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Lemon powered Light

Squeeze and roll the lemons on the table so they are good and juice on the inside, but dont’ break the skins!

Stick a nail about halfway in each of the lemons.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Summer Science

Connect the lemons. Attach 8″ copper wire to nail in the lemon and the other side to the next lemon by sticking it right into the lemon itself close to the nail, but not touching. Continue creating your closed circuit by attaching anothe rwire to the next empty nail and the following lemon. Each lemon should be connected to the lemon behind it via a copper wire coming out of the lemon itself and the lemon in front of it from a copper wire attached to the nail.

How to create a battery from a lemon

Electricity Experiment

I like to make them in a circle to get a better picture. Connect one of the long wires to the last lemon on the left’s nail and then to one of the wires (or leads) on the light bulb; secure with electrical tape. Now we will complete the circuit (connected circle) by adding the last 10″ wire to the other light bulb lead and the lemon that does not have a wire going directly into it’s flesh. The ligh bulb bule will light up.

HINT: If you are using an LED light and it isn’t lighting up, just turn around the led so the leads are attached in a different direction to get the electricity flowing in the correct direction.

How to create a battery from a lemon

lemon battery explanation

So what? Usually our lights are plugged into an electrical outlet or powered by a battery. Batteris are made of two different metals and an acid. In this case the lemon provides the acid. The nail and copper wire are the substitute for two differene metals. The nail and wire are electrodes where the electricity enters and exits the lemon battery. These electrons flow from the nail into the lemon juice acid to the copper wire and then on to the next lemon. They gather more and more electrons in their route until their are enough to light up the bulb.

Take it a step further. Can other fruits power a battery? Try other acidic produce such as oranges, limes, tomatoes, and potatoes. Now try a non-acidic fruit; does it work?

How to create a battery from a lemon How to create a battery from a lemon How to create a battery from a lemon How to create a battery from a lemon

Electricity Experiments

Looking to explore electiricty further? Try these fun electricity projects.

  • Lego Electricity Experiments for Kids
  • How to Make a Battery Science Project
  • 12 Hands-on Battery Experiments for Kids
  • Minion Squisy Circuits – electricity experiments for kids
  • EASY Steady Hand Game – Electricity Experiments for Kids
  • Tomato Battery Experiment for Kids
  • Lemon Battery Project for Kids
  • Christmas Lime Battery Electricity Experiment for Preschoolers
  • Ornament Carousel Electricity Experiments for Kids
  • Magic Goo – Static Electricity Experiment
  • Spinning Tree Christmas Science Experiment
  • Simple Light Bulb Experiment

How to create a battery from a lemon How to create a battery from a lemonHow to create a battery from a lemon

Summer Fun

Looking for more outdoor activities for kids and things to do in the summer? Your toddler, preschool, pre k, kindergarten, and elementary age kids will love these fun ideas to keep them busy all summer long:

  • Marshmallow Shooters – go over 30 feet!
  • Lemon Volcano is a fun Summer Experiment for kids of all ages
  • Sand Volcano – EASY Summer Science Experiment for Kids
  • 2 ingredient Easy Slime Recipe
  • Lemon Battery Experiment
  • Super Simple Sand Slime
  • How to Make a Lava Lamp – it’s super EASY!
  • Kids will no nuts over this simple Pop Rock Experiment
  • Leak Proof Bag – Amazing Science Experiment with Everyday Materials
  • Mind-Blowing Magnetic Slime for Kids
  • Easy Button Crafts for Kids
  • Handprint Strawberry Craft for Summer
  • Grow Your Own Crystals
  • Water Balloon Experiment – exploring densit with an EPIC summer activity for kids
  • Amazing Bubble Painting
  • Mind Blowing Color Changing Playdough

Introduction: Lemon Batteries: Lighting an LED With Lemons

Did you know you can light an LED using fruits and vegetables?

For this experiment, you will need the following materials:

  • 4 lemons or potatoes
  • 4 galvanized nails
  • 4 U. S. copper pennies (minted before 1982 due to the change in copper content) or 4 copper wires
  • an LED light
  • a knife
  • 5 alligator test leads

Step 1: Creating the Batteries

  1. Using the knife, slice a penny-sized slit on the right side of your lemon.
  2. Push the penny far into the lemon, leaving a small area to hook your alligator jumper to. This will be your positive terminal.
  3. Now, create the negative terminal for your battery. Stick one of the galvanized nails into the left side of the lemon, about 2 inches away from the penny. It is important to have the nail and penny separated. If they touch, it will cause a short.
  4. Repeat this process until you have 4 complete batteries.

Step 2: Adding the Jumpers

  1. Make sure the lemons are aligned parallel to one another.
  2. Attach one of the alligator clips to the nail (negative terminal) on your first lemon.
  3. Then, run the second jumper wire from the penny (positive terminal) of the first lemon to the nail (negative terminal) in the second lemon. Add the rest of the clips, alternating positive an negative, until all the lemons are attached.

Step 3: Lighting the LED

  1. Connect the first jumper wire from the nail to the negative connection on the LED. The negative connection on the LED is the shorter wire nearest the base.
  2. Then, clip the jumper wire from the penny of the last lemon in your chain to the positive connection on the LED. When you complete your circuit, the LED will light up!
  3. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see which one produce the most volts! The higher the voltage, the brighter the light. The average lemon produces just under 1 volt. We need at least 3.5 volts to light up an LED. This is why we need 4 lemon batteries.

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How to create a battery from a lemon

How to create a battery from a lemon

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Introduction: How to Make a Simple Lemon Battery

thin instructerbule will show you how to make a simple lemon battery

Step 1:

first what you will need for your battery

lemon
wire
galvinised nail
a peice of thick copper wire
battery tester

Step 2:

what you will need to do is put your nail into the lemon about 3cm in then grab your copper peice and stick it in (about the same distance in) next to the nail

Step 3:

then all you need to do is use your battery tester to see if its working but it only will put out up to 0.9v which is not that much

also once you do this you can put two lemon batterys just using the wire to conect it together and get more volts

Step 4:

now you are done

plz comment and keep in mind this is my first instructerbule and iv never made one before

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9 Comments

How to create a battery from a lemon

Its awesome dude?

How to create a battery from a lemon

Also, a galvanized nail is zinc plated, not aluminum.

What kind of amperage do you see? Does it change under load (with a resistor in series)? Does it depend on the freshness of the lemon?

How to create a battery from a lemon

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

year i know but i accsidently used the wrong photo but yes is is ment to be zink platted my mistace

How to create a battery from a lemon

Reply 6 years ago

First of all, you really don’t know how type correctly.Second of all,is yeah,not year, THIRD OF ALL, WHO IS THE ROBOT, I’M NEW TO THIS YOU KNOW!

How to create a battery from a lemon

Reply 6 years ago

*cough* Leave a space after a period or a comma, and you should have typed it’s, not is. *cough*

ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING!

Fourthly – welcome to the site!

“Robot” is our site mascot (look at the top of every page). If you want to chat about the site itself, pop over to the forums page (“Explore” > “Forums”). You can search the forums, join in a discussion, or start a topic of your own (just make sure you get it on the right board, or the right people might not see it).

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Batteries help to perform our daily tasks easily. It is vital to operate any portable electronic device. A battery consists of two electrodes in an electrolyte to produce electricity. If your flashlight stops working immediately, you can easily make a small battery to turn your flashlight ON using a lemon at home. It is inexpensive and serves your immediate need. Batteries are widely used in electronic devices like toys, flashlights, cars, cell phones, and radios etc.

Two different metals are used to generate electricity in a battery. One electrode is positively charged whereas the other one is negatively charged. When you insert positive and negative electrodes in an electrolyte, the current passes between these two in an electrolyte and electricity is generated for our needs. Read to on to know about how to create a battery at home using a lemon, copper and galvanized nail.

Items Required for Making a Lemon Battery at Home

  1. 18 Gage Copper Wire piece
  2. Large lemon
  3. Galvanized nail
  4. Wire stripper
  5. Multimeter

Procedure to make a Lemon battery at home

  1. You need to remove around half inch insulation of the copper wire. You can make into a coil form as given below:
  1. You need to straighten your steel paper clip. You can make use of the wire cutter to cut the paper clip into the same size of the copper wire. You can make use of the sand paper to smoothen its surface. If you have zinc covered nail, you need to apply the sand paper lightly to expose the fresh portion.
  2. You are advised to roll the large lemon on a table to loosen the juice and the cell walls inside the lemon. The juice in the lemon is required to initiate chemical reaction for our battery to work.
  3. You need to insert the copper coil about a half inch deep into the lemon.
  4. It is also necessary to insert the zinc covered nail or paper clip about half a inch deep into the lemon. However, you need to maintain at least 1 cm between the copper and paper clip or zinc covered nail.
  5. The metals should not touch each other.

You have just made a voltaic battery using a lemon. It should be as given in the below image.\

How to create a battery from a lemon

You can make use of the multimeter to test the voltage between the terminals of the lemon battery shown above. It shows some voltage. However, the voltage level for one lemon battery will not be sufficient to drive your electronic circuit.

You can make use of ten lemons and ten sets of electrodes to make a bigger lemon battery for your application. If you do not have a paper clip, you can also make use of galvanized coin for your application.

You need to connect the lemon batteries in series to get the desired voltage as indicated below:

How to create a battery from a lemon

You need to connect the copper terminal of the first battery to the galvanized coin of the next battery. The same logic is to be repeated for all the batteries to get a series connection and the desired voltage. You can connect an electronic device between positive terminal (copper) and negative terminal (paper clip or coin). The device starts working.

How to create a battery from a lemon

People are quite familiar with a few fun-filled experiments that we’ve done during our school days. At the same time, the children love to do experiments that have both fun and knowledge and the most familiar experiment that people have ever done or will ever do is “Lemon Battery”. We can see batteries everywhere like in car, toys, lights, mobiles, laptops and so on. And how the batteries are working really astonishes the minds of the children. Children are the most curious one than the adults and such experiments will not only help them to gain knowledge but also how it can be used in life.

In this article, you guys will learn how to make a lemon battery with simple steps and how it works to bring out the current from Hank, from SciShow YouTube Channel. Here he further tackles about the science behind the lemon battery experiment.

MATERIALS

  • Lemon
  • A nail coated in Zinc
  • Copper wire
  • Volt Metre

HOW TO MAKE A LEMON BATTERY?

To begin with, the experiment, take a piece of zinc galvanized nail and a copper wire. Then take a lemon and roll it around on the table to break or open the juice compartments inside. Next, take the copper wire and the zinc nail and push it into opposite ends of the lemon. Make sure that they don’t touch each other inside. These two metals create positive and negative terminals like in batteries. And then connect the terminals to the volt metre to test the lemon battery.

SCIENCE BEHIND IT

We used to think that, in this experiment, electricity is from the lemon but the fact is, the electricity is not in the lemon. You’ll be unsurprised to discover that when you connect the volt metre to the copper and zinc, it will show some electric current. It is because there are electrons flowing from one metal to the other and this will prove the fact that the electricity from the lemon battery is not from the lemon.

Electric Chemical Cells or Batteries require three things and they are two electrodes and one electrolyte. One of the electrodes has to have the strongest desires for electrons than the other and in Chemistry, it is said that it has Higher Electro-Negativity.

The electrode that wants more electrons is called Cathode and the electrode that gives up electrons is called Anode.

In our lemon battery, we have both the copper and the zinc. Copper likes having electrons more than zinc, so it’s more electro-negative and thus, it is a cathode. But it is not possible for electrons to make the metal all positively charged on one side and the negative on the other. Since zinc is losing all its electrons,

it has to lose protons too. To make it happen, the electrolyte has to be used. The wire that connects the copper and the zinc allows electrons to flow freely, but protons are huge compared to electrons and cannot be moved through wires. Yet, protons can move into an ionic solution like dilution of citric acid which is used as our electrolyte. When zinc is exposed to the acid in the lemon juice, the acid oxidises or removes electrons from the zinc resulting in positively charged zinc ions move in the solution. The resulting electrons in the metal will be collected by the copper. The electrons in the copper will pull a couple of protons or hydrogen ions out of the acid and reduce them by adding electrons. The result is hydrogen gas, which are tiny bubbles forming on the copper electrode.

The summary of this article is that the electricity from the lemon battery is not from the lemon but the chemical reaction resulting from the differences in electronegativity between zinc and copper. The actual power is from the zinc, not in the lemon. And we hope you are clearer with the idea and the science behind the lemon battery. If anyone says lemon has electricity, just clarify them with the help of this article.

The lemon battery is made of a lemon, a penny and a dime. Those are the only things you need to make a battery. It will not be a strong battery so don’t try to start a lawn mower with it but you will be able to feel a current running through the battery when you touch it with a wet finger or tongue.

To make a lemon battery take a lemon and roll it on a flat surface like a table or counter top. This rolling action will move the lemon’s juices around and activate the lemon. After you have rolled the lemon back and forth a few times take the lemon and make two short slots in the lemon that are horizontal to each other and about an half inch apart.

Then take a penny and put the penny into one of the slots so that most of the penny is above the surface of the lemon but a good portion of the penny is into the lemon.

Take a dime and put it into the other slot in the same way that you put the penny into the lemon. Make sure the coins are a half inch apart and horizontal to each other.

The lemon juice will now create a reaction to the two different types of metals and it will cause one coin to hold a positive charge and the other coin will have a negative charge.

If you take your tongue and put it on both of the coins at the same time you will feel a surge of power. It will be a small electrical charge that will not hurt you but you will feel a tingle on your tongue. If you wet your finger and place your finger on both coins at the same time you may also feel a charge on your finger.

Making a science project from a lemon can be fun and you can share it with the people around you. A lemon battery is easy to make and yet it will take some skill on your part to get the lemon to work with the coins.

Lemon Battery

How to create a battery from a lemon

When your kiddo comes home with news that it is science fair time at school a quick, easy, and educational option is the lemon battery.

Make a Lemon Battery

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 lemons
  • 4 galvanized nails
  • 4 pieces of copper
  • 5 aligator clip wires
  • A small light to power up
  1. Check with a grown-up before you begin.
  2. First, attach one of the paperclips to a wire.
  3. Then attach a penny to a second wire.
  4. Attach another penny to one end of the third wire, and a paperclip to the other end.
  1. Squeeze and roll two lemons to loosen the pulp inside.
  2. Make two small cuts in the skins of both lemons an inch or so apart.
  3. Put the paper clip that is attached to the wire and the penny into one of the cuts until you get to the juicy part of the lemon.
  4. Stick the penny into a hole in the other lemon.
  5. Put the other paper clip into the second hole of the lemon with the penny.
  6. Then put the last penny into the last open hole.
  1. Connect the free ends of the wires to the terminals of the digital clock.
  1. Watch how the lemons make enough electricity to turn the clock on. If you’ve hooked everything up and the clock isn’t running, try switching the wires.
  1. Here’s how this lemon battery works. There’s a chemical reaction between the steel in the paper clip and the lemon juice. There’s also a chemical reaction between the copper in the penny and the lemon juice. These two chemical reactions push electrons through the wires.
  2. Because the two metals are different, the electrons get pushed harder in one direction than the other. If the metals were the same, the push would be equal and no electrons would flow. The electrons flow in one direction around in a circle and then come back to the lemon battery. While they flow through the clock, they make it work. This flow is called electric current.
  3. This is hard to understand. So, if you need it explained to you again, be sure to talk to a parent or a teacher.

Introduction: Homemade (lemon Juice) Battery! Powers Electric Buzzer and More! Lemon Battery – Easy DIY

How to create a battery from a lemon

How to create a battery from a lemon

How to create a battery from a lemon

in this instructable i’ll show you how to make a lemon juice battery. as far as these homemade batteries go, it’s probably the strongest. it powers buzzers, small leds/lights and even clocks.

Step 1: Watch Instructional Video.

shows full build, along with it running all types of stuff.

Step 2: Read Description.

Lemon Battery. Simple Homemade Battery. Powers Electric Buzzer! (and more. ). Easy DIY. powers almost anything normally run using “button cell” batteries. (so far i’ve run lights, LED’s, clocks, calculators, electric tea-lights, watches, a pedometer and an Electric Buzzer. items needed: five small equal sized containers, an old extenison/appliance cord (for copper), several 2 1/2″ wood screws and lemon juice (i used a 25% concentrate). *to see 4 other versions of this battery look for my video titled “5 Homemade Batteries” located on my youtube channel. *battery output is 4-5 volts (2.5 milliamps). for increased voltage use more cells and for more amperage hook the cells in parallel.

Step 3: Items Needed.

1.) 5 small (equal sized) containers

2.) 5 or more large wood screws (nails can be used too)

3.) piece of old extension cord wire (or wire from old lamp or appliance)

4.) lemon juice (i used a 25% concentrate). *that’s generally what’s sold in food stores

Step 4: Start by Stripping the Wire.

strip the insulation off of the extension cord wire. that will expose the copper wire. i stripped them down (in roughly 3 inch sections). see above pics. then wrap 3 of them together and wrap around the top part of the screw. i did 4 of them.

Step 5: Now Just Assemble the Battery.

first, place the small containers in a row (or in a kind of a circle). then place the screw/wire combos so that each container is connected to the next as shown in the pics above. note that in the first container in the row, you’ll put a screw with no copper wire on it and in the last container in the row, you’ll put a piece of copper with no screw attached to it. those are the battery terminals. you’ll hook the stuff you want to run up to those.

Step 6: Now Add the Lemon Juice.

add the lemon juice to each container and fire it up.

Step 7: Here’s a Few Things I Ran.

you can run pretty much anything that runs on “button cell” batteries.

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A lemon battery is a classic science experiment used to demonstrate the basics of a chemical battery system. To conduct this experiment, a scientist needs one very juicy lemon, a galvanized or zinc-coated steel nail, and a clean copper coin or section of household copper wiring. The scientist making the battery also needs a wire with alligator clips at each end 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. Small Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and other electrical devices can also be used to test a lemon battery, though this typically requires additional lemons.

A copper coin or wire is needed to make a lemon battery.

How it Works

A lemon battery relies on electrons and a chemical reaction that takes place when metals are introduced to an acidic mixture. The lemon contains a significant amount of acidic juice, which in scientific terminology is an “electrolyte.” Acid in an electrolyte helps break down the atomic structure of metals, like copper and zinc, causing the release of individual electrons. When a scientist creates a circuit, by connecting the two metals with a conductor, the electrons flow through it as an electrical charge, which can be detected on a voltmeter or other device.

Making the Battery

First, the scientist creating a lemon battery should carefully insert the copper coin or household copper wiring into one end of the lemon, then insert the galvanized nail into the opposite end. It is important for the scientist doing this to make sure the two metals do not make contact with each other. This would close the circuit, and holding the metals while they touch could result in a mild electric shock.

A lemon battery is a classic science experiment.

Creating the Charge

The nail and the coin have now become electrodes. Both copper and zinc allow electrons to flow through them, which means they are considered excellent conductors of electricity. The copper coin or wire is considered a positive (+) electrode, while the zinc-coated nail is a negative (-) electrode.

Free-flowing electrons found in the lemon-juice electrolyte naturally want to move from the negative to the positive electrodes. How fast these electrons flow is measured as amperage. The voltmeter picks up on this by displaying voltage, which indicates the “electrical pressure” working within the circuit.

Measuring Voltage

A single lemon battery does not produce a significant amount of voltage, but a sensitive voltmeter should detect some electrical output. The scientist should connect the positive clip of a wire, the end with a red casing, to the copper coin or wire; and the negative clip, the end with a black casing, to the galvanized nail. A digital readout or analog dial on the voltmeter should show a small voltage number, usually less than one-tenth of a volt. This is not typically enough to run a digital clock or power a light bulb, but it does demonstrate that an electrical current has been generated through a chemical reaction within the lemon battery.

Increasing the Charge

While a single-cell lemon battery is functional, it provides little meaningful electrical charge. Additional voltage can be provided by increasing the number of cells, or lemons, within the battery. A series of lemons can function together as a single battery through additional wires attached from the positive electrode, copper part, of one lemon to the negative end, zinc nail, of another.

About four lemons connected in series in this way should provide enough power to light a small LED. The scientist should connect the negative lead from one end lemon to the LED wire closest to a flattened area of the casing. He or she can then connect a positive lead, from the other end lemon, to the other wire. A dim but noticeable glow should light in the center of the LED; additional lemons or cells can be added to the battery for greater charge and an even brighter glow.

Lemons contain acidic juice that can release electrons when combined with certain metals such as zinc.

A regular EasyTechJunkie contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Introduction: Let’s Make a Lemon Battery

Hello Parents, Teachers, and children! Have you ever taken the time to ask yourselves how many items we use in our daily lives that use batteries? You would be amazed! The next question you might ask, “what is a battery”? There are many different types of batteries on the market today. We will look at an electrolytic cell called the “Lemon Battery”. This type of battery in its simplest form is a chemical reaction between two dissimilar metals (copper penny and the paperclip) in an electrolyte (the lemon juice). Those two dissimilar metals are called your Cathode (negative) and Anode (positive). See Figure 1 above.

When this chemical reaction happens, Electrons leave the Penny (Cathode) and gather on the Paperclip (Anode). Your Lemon Battery now has electrical energy stored inside ready to be used! Parents and Teachers, we would like to make this project as simple, inexpensive, and fun as possible for you and the children. So let us talk about what we will need for this project. Material checklist (also refer to picture 1 above on the left): 4-lemons 4-paper clips 4-pennies 5-wire with alligator clip on the ends (small speaker wire will work, just hard to connect to the electrodes) 1-1.2 volt LED (used a LED out of my son’s broken car) 1-digital volt meter (if you don’t have a voltmeter, you can skip to hooking up LED to test)

We do realize that not everyone will have access to a nice voltmeter, but it really helps you see what
voltage each cell (lemon) has in it when you make it into a battery. We also suggest buying some simple wires with alligator clamps on the ends. This makes life much easier when you are connecting your lemons. To see what an alligator clip looks like refer to picture 2 above, to the right.

Step 1: Squeezing and Rolling the Lemons

Ok kids! What we want to do here is role the lemons on a flat surface. Place the lemon on a flat surface and put pressure with your hands on the lemon while rolling it back and forth. Once you roll the lemon, grab the lemon and squeeze it pretty hard. We don’t want to pop the lemon! What we are accomplishing with this step is releasing the juices inside the carpel section of the lemon. This is creating our electrolyte for our battery. Refer to figure 2 above.

Step 2: Cutting the Lemons

***** Parents and Teachers do all the cutting on the Lemons! Do not let the children handle the knives!*****

Cut both ends of the lemons to allow our penny and paperclips to slide into the lemon. You will use one penny and paperclip on each lemon. Please refer to picture 3 above.

Step 3: Step 3: Measure the Voltage

You will turn on your voltmeter and make sure it is set for Direct Current (DC).

Once you have your voltmeter set for DC, put your red lead from the voltmeter on the penny and the black lead on the paperclip. You should have somewhere around 1 volt. Please refer to picture 4 above.

You may have to adjust the range on the voltmeter if you are getting some strange readings. We also
would like to remind you that you do not have to have a voltmeter. You may use your LED as a test for current once you have all your batteries connected.

Step 4: Step 4: Connecting the Lemons

We are now going to use our alligator clips and connect the lemons together. Make sure that when you are connecting the batteries together that you connect the paperclip from the first lemon to the penny of the second lemon. Next, connect the paperclip of the second lemon to the penny of the third lemon. Now connect the paperclip of the third lemon to the penny of the fourth lemon.

After you have the lemons all connected in series (this is the type of circuit you just created with your batteries), put your voltmeter red lead on the penny of lemon one and the black lead on the paperclip of lemon four. You should get a reading around 4 volts. It may be a bit lower than 4 volts because not all lemons give you a true 1 volt. When you put the batteries in series like this you add the combined voltage of each lemon, which gives you around 4 volts. Refer to figure 3 for a drawing example and Picture 5 for a real world example

Step 5: Step 5: Connecting the LED

We are now going to use our alligator clips and connect the lemons together. Make sure that when you are connecting the batteries together that you connect the paperclip from the first lemon to the penny of the second lemon. Next, connect the paperclip of the second lemon to the penny of the third lemon. Now connect the paperclip of the third lemon to the penny of the fourth lemon.

After you have the lemons all connected in series (this is the type of circuit you just created with your batteries), put your voltmeter red lead on the penny of lemon one and the black lead on the paperclip of lemon four. You should get a reading around 4 volts. It may be a bit lower than 4 volts because not all lemons give you a true 1 volt. When you put the batteries in series like this you add the combined voltage of each lemon, which gives you around 4 volts. Refer to figure 3 for a drawing example and Picture 6 for a real world example

We hope that you all enjoyed such a simple and fun project. You probably never thought that your
lemons could produce electrical current to produce light. Just remember that you created a battery that generated almost 4 volts. Look online and see what else that you could power from your lemon batter. You could power small digital clocks and even calculators!

Always want to learn more and always be creative.

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Did you know that you can create a battery using just three common things that you can find at home; a lemon, an object made from zinc and an object made from copper? This experiment is very popular in text books and is ideal for students to learn how a battery works with a simple hands on experiment.

What you will need :

– a large juicy lemon (preferably fresh)

– an object made from zinc : a galvanised nail coated in zinc, a dime or a zinc strip

– an object made from copper : a copper coin ( a penny or any other copper coin) or a copper strip

1. Roll the lemon around on a table to ‘activate’ the juices in the lemon.

2. Using a knife, make a slit on the top left side of the lemon. Insert the copper object you wish to use.

3. Make another slit on the right side of the lemon. Insert the zinc object you wish to use. Make sure that the two objects do not touch.

4. Take two connecting wires and attach the objects to the voltmeter, making sure that you are connecting it in the right way. This will show you how many volts the lemon is producing.

A battery is made up of various cells, each containing an electrolyte, and two electrodes. In this experiment, the acidic juice of the lemon acts as the electrolyte, a liquid which allows electricity to pass through it. The two electrodes are the zinc and copper objects, materials called conductors. The electrodes are where the electric current enters or leaves the battery.

When the two electrodes come into contact with the acidic electrolyte, two half reactions start to occur, changing chemical energy into electrical energy. Electrons are supplied to the zinc through the cathode ( the negative electrode).

With the zinc: Zn → Zn2+ + 2 e-
At the copper: 2H++ 2e- → H2

Improving Your Battery :

When you close the lemon circuit, you are producing a voltage, although very low in this experiment; less than 1 Volt. This low voltage isn’t enough to light up even a small bulb. To increase the voltage, you could create more cells to form a battery. Build more lemon cells and combine them together using connecting wires, making sure that you connect the zinc object to the copper object. Also, make sure that you connect the cells in series so that the voltage is added together. You would need around four lemon cells to light a small LED (light emitting diode). Four lemon cells would give you around 3.5 Volts.

You could improve your battery by using more pure metals. Try to obtain pure pieces of zinc and copper so that you can gain more voltage.

This experiment is ideal for children in Grades 3 to 8.

Do not try this experiment with children under 5 years since they could choke on some of the small parts required when building the lemon battery.

When you have finished with the experiment, make sure that you dispose of the lemon and the metal objects safely.

Follow all of the directions given above precisely to enjoy a safe and fun experiment.

Lemon Battery

How to create a battery from a lemon

When your kiddo comes home with news that it is science fair time at school a quick, easy, and educational option is the lemon battery.

Make a Lemon Battery

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 lemons
  • 4 galvanized nails
  • 4 pieces of copper
  • 5 aligator clip wires
  • A small light to power up
  1. Check with a grown-up before you begin.
  2. First, attach one of the paperclips to a wire.
  3. Then attach a penny to a second wire.
  4. Attach another penny to one end of the third wire, and a paperclip to the other end.
  1. Squeeze and roll two lemons to loosen the pulp inside.
  2. Make two small cuts in the skins of both lemons an inch or so apart.
  3. Put the paper clip that is attached to the wire and the penny into one of the cuts until you get to the juicy part of the lemon.
  4. Stick the penny into a hole in the other lemon.
  5. Put the other paper clip into the second hole of the lemon with the penny.
  6. Then put the last penny into the last open hole.
  1. Connect the free ends of the wires to the terminals of the digital clock.
  1. Watch how the lemons make enough electricity to turn the clock on. If you’ve hooked everything up and the clock isn’t running, try switching the wires.
  1. Here’s how this lemon battery works. There’s a chemical reaction between the steel in the paper clip and the lemon juice. There’s also a chemical reaction between the copper in the penny and the lemon juice. These two chemical reactions push electrons through the wires.
  2. Because the two metals are different, the electrons get pushed harder in one direction than the other. If the metals were the same, the push would be equal and no electrons would flow. The electrons flow in one direction around in a circle and then come back to the lemon battery. While they flow through the clock, they make it work. This flow is called electric current.
  3. This is hard to understand. So, if you need it explained to you again, be sure to talk to a parent or a teacher.

Introduction: Homemade (lemon Juice) Battery! Powers Electric Buzzer and More! Lemon Battery – Easy DIY

How to create a battery from a lemon

How to create a battery from a lemon

How to create a battery from a lemon

in this instructable i’ll show you how to make a lemon juice battery. as far as these homemade batteries go, it’s probably the strongest. it powers buzzers, small leds/lights and even clocks.

Step 1: Watch Instructional Video.

shows full build, along with it running all types of stuff.

Step 2: Read Description.

Lemon Battery. Simple Homemade Battery. Powers Electric Buzzer! (and more. ). Easy DIY. powers almost anything normally run using “button cell” batteries. (so far i’ve run lights, LED’s, clocks, calculators, electric tea-lights, watches, a pedometer and an Electric Buzzer. items needed: five small equal sized containers, an old extenison/appliance cord (for copper), several 2 1/2″ wood screws and lemon juice (i used a 25% concentrate). *to see 4 other versions of this battery look for my video titled “5 Homemade Batteries” located on my youtube channel. *battery output is 4-5 volts (2.5 milliamps). for increased voltage use more cells and for more amperage hook the cells in parallel.

Step 3: Items Needed.

1.) 5 small (equal sized) containers

2.) 5 or more large wood screws (nails can be used too)

3.) piece of old extension cord wire (or wire from old lamp or appliance)

4.) lemon juice (i used a 25% concentrate). *that’s generally what’s sold in food stores

Step 4: Start by Stripping the Wire.

strip the insulation off of the extension cord wire. that will expose the copper wire. i stripped them down (in roughly 3 inch sections). see above pics. then wrap 3 of them together and wrap around the top part of the screw. i did 4 of them.

Step 5: Now Just Assemble the Battery.

first, place the small containers in a row (or in a kind of a circle). then place the screw/wire combos so that each container is connected to the next as shown in the pics above. note that in the first container in the row, you’ll put a screw with no copper wire on it and in the last container in the row, you’ll put a piece of copper with no screw attached to it. those are the battery terminals. you’ll hook the stuff you want to run up to those.

Step 6: Now Add the Lemon Juice.

add the lemon juice to each container and fire it up.

Step 7: Here’s a Few Things I Ran.

you can run pretty much anything that runs on “button cell” batteries.

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We’ve seen fruit and vegetable batteries before and wondered how to make a lemon battery! We got a chance to find out with this fun experiment given to us by StemBox, and sponsored by Green Works.

How to create a battery from a lemon

How To Make a Lemon Battery

How to create a battery from a lemon

We added some fruit to the StemBox, and had everything we needed, including:

LED Bulb
4 Lemons (not included in the StemBox)
Alligator Clips
Zinc Nails
Copper Wire
Goggles
Gloves
Instructions Page

How to create a battery from a lemon

Included in the StemBox as fun extras not necessary for the experiment were two pins, Green Works Wipes – great for the cleanup! -, mini fruit-powered clock, STEM Sticker.

How to create a battery from a lemonWe followed the instructions provided, adding a copper wire and a zinc nail to each lemon. We then used alligator clips to connect the lemons – copper wire to zinc nail. Then comes the really fun part: use an alligator clip connected to a copper wire and one connected to a zinc nail to clip onto the LED light — turn off the lights in the room and watch it light up!

You can subscribe to StemBox for monthly STEM projects!

StemBox aims to inspire young girls in STEM fields. Each monthly project is a hands-on science project designed to for girls ages 7 to 13.
Want to bring science to your door? Head over to StemBox and choose your subscription. Subscription costs:

Month to month = $36
3 month pre-pay = $28
6 month pre-pay = $170

How to create a battery from a lemon

Green Works is a great choice as StemBox’s first sponsor because a female scientist Maria Ochomogo led the team that created the laundry and household cleaners that make-up today’s Green Works line. For more information on Green works and its continued support of Girls in STEM visit the Green Works website.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Green Works . The opinions and text are all mine.

Filed Under: Essays Tagged With: Education

A. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM This study aims to find out how long a lemon (Citrus limon) can last as a lemon battery powering a digital clock.

B. HYPOTHESIS The researcher assumes that one lemon would last for a day or two and that the usage of more lemons would entail a longer battery time.

C. OBJECTIVES Specifically, it aims to: 1) come up with a quantity-longevity ratio with the use of a varied quantity of lemons in the production of a lemon battery 2) find the relationship of the number of lemons and the time it powers a digital clock 3) produce a graph showing the said relationship

D. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study is significant to the: 1. BATTERY CONSUMERS because the purchase of batteries is costly unlike the use of lemons because they’re cheaper and more accessible that the lemons may just be taken from the kitchen. 2. ENVIRONMENT because the regular battery contains mercury and lead which are harmful to the environment especially when they are disposed of. The lemon battery is not at all harmful after disposal. 3. FUTURE RESEARCHERS because this research will serve as a reference material for their research. If this research will be taken further, the elimination of the usage of harmful batteries could be advocated. 4. RESEARCHER because this research will provide more knowledge and insight about the latter.

The Research paper on Lemon Battery

. Research in Graphic Communication. Atascadero, CA: The Good Neighbor Press & Services. Oehling, K. (n.d.). How to Make a Lemon Battery. . this form, researchers will consult previous studies and findings such as reports, press articles and previous research projects in . green” factor. Regular batteries are very acidic and quite harmful to the environment, however the printed batteries that are in .

E. SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS This study is limited to: 1. Produce a version of the lemon battery 2. Finding out the longevity of the lemon as a battery source for a small digital clock 3. Using 2, 3, 4 or 5 lemons in various set-ups and finding a quantity-longevity ratio 4. This study will be conducted in the classroom during the Physics laboratory period on the Third Quarter.

F. DEFINITION OF TERMS 1. Lemon Battery – a proven alternative to the use of the regular battery made of lemon, copper and iron.

2. Populace – the people who live in a country or area 3. Environment – the complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival 4. Longevity – the length or duration of an individual life

CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE BATTERIES A battery produces electrical energy from chemical energy by arranging an indirect contact of the anode (negative endpoint) and the cathode (positive endpoint).

Electrons in the battery travel from one terminal to another and as this happens, an electrical current is produced. The traveling of the electrons and the creation of an electrical current enables a device to be powered. There is a well in between the two chemicals which is called an electrolyte which ensures that the anode and the cathode do not interact. Furthermore, the electrons can only flow when the two sides of a battery are connected by a wire or another conductor. [1] LEMONS

A lemon is an acidic fruit that is a many-seeded yellow, oblong berry produced by a small and thorny citrus tree. [2] Pharmacologically, a lemon is important because if its Vitamin C contents and for its potassium content. Studies show that the intake of citrus fruits contribute to the reduction of various diseases. [3] LEMON BATTERY

Citric acid, which is always present in lemons, reacts with both zinc and copper. As it is inserted into the lemon, the zinc and copper are both dissolving in the citric acid. As this reaction takes place, free electrons begin circulating inside the lemon. The electrons create energy which travels through the copper wires and creates an electrical current. [4] LEMON BATTERY-POWERED CLOCK

The Essay on Lemon Battery 2

. the whole battery. A series involving four lemon batteries can easily light an LED. Although a lemon does not have enough power to light . transfer of electrons to and from the electrodes. When the two electrodes, copper and zinc, are suspended in the acidic lemon juice, the . small electronic gadget that is out of power. In the other, although the product batteries are recommended for the people to .

Batteries power up gadgets through the production of electrolytes. In the case of a lemon battery, it can power up a simple digital clock through the production of acidic electrolytes. It is imperative to use different metals, more preferably zinc and copper. These two metals allow the easy flow of electricity enough to power up a clock. In a lemon battery-powered clock, the usual materials used are made of copper and zinc inserted in a lemon. This is most common with school science fairs. It is usually constructed with the use of galvanized nails and copper wires that connect to the clock.[5] When the galvanized nail comes into contact with the citric acid of the lemon, it starts two chemical reactions namely: oxidation and reduction.

The first process, oxidation starts the whole process by removing the zinc atoms from the nail. Two electrons are removed from each zinc atom, giving the zinc atom a possible charge of two. The second reaction, reduction, zeroes in on the positively charged hydrogen ions in the citric acid near the nail. These ions accept electrons released by the oxidation process and start to form hydrogen gas. These two reactions keep going on and create a movement which can now be called an electric current. All scientists have agreed that electrons move away from the negative terminal of a battery or electric cell and through the circuit toward the positive terminal. Thus the zinc (source of electrons) is the negative terminal in a lemon electric cell, and the copper is the positive terminal which is each connected to the wire where the electric current flows through and thus, powering the clock. [6]

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Lemon Battery 2

. zinc that produces electricity. The zinc electrode, when inside the lemon, gets oxidized by releasing electrons . battery. A series involving four lemon batteries can easily light an LED. Although a lemon does not have enough power . of the study This .

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Introduction
Have you ever heard of the lemon battery experiment? How can a fruit act as a battery and actually generate electricity? The lemon itself does not generate electricity, instead, it works in tandem with two other objects to act as a battery. A battery consists of two electrodes, an anode (-) and a cathode (+), which are composed of metal, and an electrolyte, which is a liquid or paste. The purpose of the electrolyte is to cause an electrochemical reaction between the cathode and anode so that electricity is generated and to allow it to flow. Citric acid breaks down in the water in lemon juice and is an electrolyte. The cathode, in this case, will be a copper coin, and the anode will be a zinc nail.

Aim
Investigate how increasing the number of lemon batteries affects the current and voltage in a series circuit .

Hypothesis
The lemon, copper coin and zinc nail will act as a battery and will cause an electrochemical reaction to produce electricity. Since the lemon will act as a battery, the behaviour of the circuit will be similar to that of a simple series circuit with multiple batteries. Therefore as the number of lemons is increased the voltage will increase proportionally while the current will remain the same.

Materials
15 lemons

45 copper pennies

120 1.25 inch zinc/ galvanized nails

8 alligator clips with the wire attached

Method

  1. Gently roll one of the lemons so that the juices start flowing. Make sure to not rip the skin.
  2. Make two incisions two inches apart on the lemons.
  3. Insert 3 copper pennies in one of the slots.
  4. Insert 8 zinc nails in the other slot.
  5. Connect the red wire of the multimeter with the copper pennies.
  6. Connect the black wire with the zinc nails.
  7. Turn the multimeter on and record the voltage and then the current of the circuit.
  8. Turn the multimeter off.
  9. Repeat steps 1-4 with another lemon.
  10. Using a pair of alligator clips, connect the copper coin in the first lemon with the zinc nail in the second lemon.
  11. Connect the remaining copper coins with the red wire of the multimeter.
  12. Connect the remaining zinc nails with the black wire of the multimeter.
  13. Repeat steps 7-8.
  14. Repeat step 9 and connect the 3 lemons and multimeter using 4 alligator clips.
  15. Repeat step 13.
  16. Repeat step 9 and connect the 4 lemons and multimeter using 6 alligator clips.
  17. Repeat step 15.
  18. Repeat step 9 and connect the 5 lemons and multimeter using 8 alligator clips.
  19. Repeat step 17.
  20. Repeat the experiment two more times using different lemons, zinc nails and copper pennies, and the same alligator clips.
  21. Proceed to clean up your workplace.
  22. (Optional) Rather than connecting the circuit to a multimeter, connect it to a low-voltage lightbulb to see the flow of electricity.

Results

Voltage and current were successfully measured from each lemon battery circuit. The following data shows the effect of increasing the number of lemon batteries on voltage and current in a series circuit.

Analysis

All of the lemon batteries produced electricity. This was due to the electrochemical reaction that took place. During the electrochemical reaction, the electrolyte (citric acid) caused an oxidation-reduction or redox reaction. During this reaction, two half-reactions take place, one of the reactants is oxidized and the other is reduced. In this case, the anode (zinc) has a higher oxidational potential and will lose electrons (oxidation) once it is in contact with the liquid electrolyte. This can be seen by the balanced equation: Zn➝ Zn⁺² + 2e⁻, where zinc loses two electrons. The electrolyte (citric acid) will form positive hydrogen ions when it dissolves in the water in the lemon juice, as that is the nature of all electrolytes. Then, the ions will gain electrons (reduction) from the copper to form a neutral hydrogen molecule. This can be seen by the balanced equation: 2H⁺ + 2e⁻➝ H₂. The electrons lost from the copper are made up by moving two electrons from the zinc through the external wire. If the circuit is closed, this transfer of electrons is electric current and flows from the anode to cathode. The tendency for electrons to transfer from the anode to cathode is known as voltage, and it is the difference in potential energy of the anode and cathode that creates a voltage. In the lemon batteries, the voltage was quite low, this was because citric acid is a weak electrolyte and doesn’t conduct electricity very effectively, and also because the conditions were not ideal to create a high potential difference; copper and zinc do create a potential difference, but other combinations of electrodes can have a higher voltage, for example, lithium-ion batteries. The reason 3 copper pennies and 8 zinc nails were used was that this ratio worked well to produce electricity. If a different ratio was used, one of the metals could have been a limiting reactant and the reactants would not be completely used up.

The overall trend in the data was that as the number of lemon batteries increased, the voltage increased and the current remained almost constant. The data showed that if you increase the number of lemon batteries, the voltage will increase and the current will remain the same. This proves the hypothesis for the experiment, it was stated that as the number of lemon batteries increases, the voltage would increase and the current would remain the same. This can be explained using Ohm’s law, which states Voltage = Current x Resistance. As the number of batteries increases, the voltage supplied increases because each battery supplies a certain amount of Volts. While the increase in voltage was not directly proportional to the number of lemon batteries added to the circuit, the increase was always within a range of 0.25 – 0.51V. This can be explained by the variations in the composition of the individual lemon. The resistance also increases as each battery provides a certain amount of resistance. Therefore it makes sense that the current would not increase as both voltage and resistance are increasing. In fact, because the current remained constant, the increase is resistance was proportional to the increase in voltage. For example, suppose the voltage = 10 Volts, the resistance is 2 Ohms, and the current is 5 amperes. 10 = 2 x 5, if the voltage was increased to 20, and the current is constant, then the resistance must also have doubled, 20 = 2(2) x 5, 20 = 4 x 5. Therefore if the number of lemon batteries is increased, the voltage will increase and the current will remain constant, because the resistance is increasing proportionately to the voltage.

The multimeter readings were a possible source of error, as it has an accuracy of ± 1.9% when it comes to voltage, and the accuracy was roughly ±1.5% when it comes to current. Therefore the measurements were not perfect. Another possible source of error was how the zinc nails and copper pennies were bunched together in the lemon, as it was difficult to recreate the exact same placements. Finally, the depth of the incisions in the lemons was a source of error as an accurate scale was not used to measure the depth.

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Have you ever tried the lemon battery experiment? This one has been around for a while, but it is always such a delight to see it in action! Kids just love it. I’ll show you how today. This is an awesome science project for kids, or great for any STEM project!

How to create a battery from a lemon

Science has always been more of a boy field, but more and more girls are becoming increasingly interested in science. Did you know that only 1 in 1,000 girls pursue a STEM career? Hopefully we can soon change that!

My daughter loves learning about all kinds of science fields from nature to electricity to coding, but I would say leans more toward artistic careers for the future. However, I love doing science experiments with her to help her see how great science can be. This lemon battery is a great one to start with if you have kids expressing an interest in STEM projects.

How to create a battery from a lemon

STEM, if you are not familiar stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We received a free STEM themed box teaching us how to create this project, but it is easy to recreate on your own!

How to create a battery from a lemon

Supplies to Make a Lemon Battery:

LED Bulb
4 Lemons ( not included )
Alligator Clips
Zinc Nails
Copper Wire or pennies

How to create a battery from a lemon

How to Make a Lemon Battery:

Roll the lemons on a hard surface to break apart the juice pockets.

In each of the 4 lemons place a nail on one side and piece of copper wire on the other side.

Connect the nail on one lemon to the copper wire on the next lemon. Connect them all in a circle except for the first and last ones.

On these last two, connect one alligator clip to a nail and to part of the light and the other to a copper wire and to the other part of the light. This will light up the light!!

How to create a battery from a lemon

How Does the Lemon Battery Work?

The lemon battery has two different metals: copper wire (you could also do it with a penny) and a galvanized (or zinc coated) nail. The lemon has citric acid in the juice. The zinc and copper are the electrodes and the lemon juice is the electrolyte. A chemical reaction happens that is called oxidation-reduction, where there is a transfer of electrons. The zinc is oxidized inside the lemon, some of its electrons are transferred to the copper to reach a lower energy state. The energy released creates the power, lighting up the bulb. The wires allow this transfer of energy.

Details
Activity Length
15 mins.
Topics
Chemical Reactions
Electricity
Activity Type
Discrepant Event (Investigatable)
Language
English

You can make a battery using a piece of fruit?

Yes, technically, but not a very strong one!

The source of electric energy in this demonstration is the combination of copper and zinc strips in the citric acid of the lemon.

The citric acid of the lemon reacts with the zinc and loosens electrons. Copper pulls electrons more strongly than zinc, so loose electrons will move towards the copper when the electrodes are connected by wires. Moving electrons are called an electric current, which is what lights up the bulb.

Teacher Tip:
This is a classic electricity activity, but it can be very frustrating if you don’t have the right equipment. We recommend having a multimeter or voltmeter on hand to test the voltage.

Objectives

Describe the relationship between an electron and current electricity.

Materials

Per Pair of Students:
lemon (and other fruit, optional)
1 copper strip
1 zinc strip (you can use a galvanized nail, which is coated with zinc)
knife
2 copper wire leads (each about 20 cm long) with alligator clips on both ends
LED bulb with a rating of no more than 2 volts (the smaller the voltage, the better)
wire cutters
wire strippers

Per Class:
multimeter or voltmeter (optional)

Key Questions

  • What happens when you connect the wire to the bulb?
  • What is the power source?
  • What role does the lemon play in lighting up the bulb?
  • When we use two strips of the same metal, does the bulb light up? Why?
  • Is water a good conductor of electrical current? Is salt a good conductor of electrical current? How do you know?

What To Do

  1. Roll the lemon firmly on a counter to release some of the juices.
  2. Insert the one copper strip and one zinc strip vertically into the lemon, with one end sticking out.
  3. Connect one wire lead to each metal strip (electrode).
  4. Connect one of the free ends of the wire leads to one of the wires attached to the LED
  5. Connect the remaining free end of the wire lead to the remaining free wire on the bulb. Don’t be surprised if the bulb doesn’t light!
    How to create a battery from a lemon
  • Hint: If you’re using an LED, it will only light if it’s connected in the right direction. Try switching direction.
  • Hint: Don’t try to test your LED by hooking it up to a commercial battery. A commercial battery will be too powerful and will wreck the LED.
  • Use the voltmeter or multimeter to check the voltage between the two electrodes. It will probably be less than 1 volt! That’s not enough to light the LED, which needs about 2 volts. Join together in groups of three or four lemons. Connect the lemons together in series (connect copper to zinc together with wire) and attach the ends to ONE bulb. Use the voltmeter to check the voltage between the free wires at the ends of the series.
  • ​Teacher Tip: The voltage will be extremely weak. You may need at least 3 lemons per battery for any visible movement to occur on the voltometer.

    Extensions

    • Experiment with other fruits (e.g. oranges, grapefruits, apples, peaches, pears). Which ones produce the highest voltage? Why?
    • Experiment with replacing the electrodes with two copper strips or two zinc strips and try to light the bulb. Measure the voltage and explain the results.
    • Experiment with replacing the electrodes with different metals (e.g. iron and magnesium). Which combinations of electrodes give the highest voltage?

    About the sticker

    Artist: Jeff Kulak

    Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

    About the sticker

    Artist: Jeff Kulak

    Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

    About the sticker

    Artist: Jeff Kulak

    Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

    About the sticker

    Artist: Michelle Yong

    Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

    About the sticker

    Artist: Michelle Yong

    Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

    About the sticker

    Artist: Michelle Yong

    Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

    About the sticker

    From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

    About the sticker

    From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

    About the sticker

    From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

    About » 4-H at Home » Fruit Batteries

    About the Activity

    Fruit bowls are brimming with way more than just delicious flavor – they also have potential electricity. That’s because each fruit can be a key component in a homemade battery. This 4‑H STEM Lab activity teaches kids the key parts of a battery and the chemical reaction that makes it possible! Kids can even try to break a Guinness World Record (instructions are included below).

    Grades: Pre-K – 2
    Topic: Electricity
    Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Brought to you by Guinness World Records

    Supplies
    These simple materials—along with a few specialty supplies—will get you started.

    Some of these you’ll have at home, some you may need to order or get from a hardware store.

    • Pennies
    • Galvanized (zinc-coated) nails/li>
    • Citrus fruit (lemons, oranges, limes)
    • Alligator clips
    • LED bulb
    • Voltmeter

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    Activity Steps

    The following steps can be used to make a battery with the help of fruit, but you can also try experimenting with different types of fruit and different metals for electrodes.

    First, we all know what a battery does, but what is it, exactly? A battery is anything that converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy. So, it doesn’t have to be the AA battery that is in your remote control, it can be lots of things – including a lemon and a penny and a nail that are interconnected. Okay, let’s get started.

    1. First, use your hand to lightly roll your lemon against a flat surface to make sure the insides are extra juicy. Did You Know? Lemons aren’t the only fruit or vegetable that can generate and conduct electricity. Potatoes and pickles are also great at conducting electricity. Oranges and tomatoes? Not so much.
    1. Next, carefully use a knife or scissors to cut two slots/holes in opposite ends of the lemon.
    2. Insert the copper penny into one of the holes you just cut, and the zinc nail into the other one. (If you’re doing this for Guinness World Records™, you’ll start the time at the beginning of this step.) Did You Know? Let’s get something clear – the lemon isn’t producing the electric current, it is conducting it. The penny and nail have different amounts of electrical charge within them, and when they are connected by something that can conduct that energy, those charges flow back and forth. In this case, that conductor is the lemon.
    3. Connect the nail and the coin (your electrodes) with the alligator clips. Make sure that one end is attached to the nail and the other to the coin. Did You Know? Lemons are able to conduct electrical current because they are high in electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals that, in the human body, are vital to many key functions, and are found in many foods. Electrolytes are also capable of carrying electric current. Pickles also make great batteries because they are soaked in a salty brine – and salt water is full of electrolytes.
    4. Once you’ve joined up the lemon battery you should be left with two free clips at either end – one coming from the nail and the other coming from the coin.
    5. To complete the circuit, attach the clips to the LED. Tip: If you hook up the LED and it doesn’t glow, switch the two alligator clips on the LED around.

    Bonus Fun:
    Go for a Guinness World Record for the fastest time to put together a fruit battery! Click here for the full details on the challenge.

    Learn more physics!

    Related Questions

    Still Curious?
    Explore Q&As in related categories

    [see correction below] Batteries work by moving and storing charges – a lot like electricity. In order for a fruit to be a battery, it needs to be able to conduct electricity. You may have learned about acids in school – if you haven’t, acids make ions, or charged particles, when put in a solution like water. These charged particles from acids are the same type as the charged particles in electric current, so the fruit that will make the best battery is the one that is most acidic. Another general thing about acids – they tend to taste sour. The stronger the acid in the fruit, the more sour it will taste. Since a lemon is the most sour of the three, it will make the best battery. [or so we once thought]
    -[name deleted]

    (published on 10/22/2007)

    Follow-Up #1: correction

    It sounds like your experiments show that the previous answer was not right.

    The reasoning in the old answer was very sloppy. Several parts of the description of the role of electrical charges didn’t even quite make sense. The factors which play a role in producing power include the acidity (which plays a role in the chemical reactions at the electrodes), the presence of various other ions (acidity just involves H + ions), and the permeability of the cell walls, which can block currents. That’s not intended to be a complete list. As a result, it’s unlikely that some simple theory will predict well which complicated material (lemon, potato, . ) will produce the most power.

    Whether your answer (more power from the potato) is correct in general or just for particular types of potatoes, etc. is another question.

    Anyway, thanks for the correction. I’ve left the exchange in to inspire other critics.

    (published on 10/22/2007)

    Follow-Up #2: apples vs. oranges

    That’s an interesting result, consistent with other things we’ve heard. I can’t explain it offhand, but will update this post if somebody does figure it out.
    Mike W.

    (published on 10/22/2007)

    Follow-Up #3: alkaline batteries

    Alkaline batteries really do have different chemistry than acidic ones. There’s a useful Wikipedia entry: .
    I guess you’re right that in an alkaline solution the simple zinc-copper battery could have the same reaction as a commercial alkaline battery:
    Zn(solid)+2OH – ->Zn(OH)2(solid)+ 2e –
    rather than the reaction
    Zn(solid) -> Zn +2 (aqueous)+ 2e-.

    However, you’d have to check the reaction potentials to see what’s realistic in, for example, a potato.

    (published on 10/22/2007)

    Follow-Up #4: trust wikipedia?

    You make an excellent point. Wikipedia is reasonably reliable, but an answer that is good at the time we link to it can be changed to one that’s incorrect. We hope that our readers understand this limitation. (I’ve made perhaps a couple of dozen Wikipedia modifications, and one of them was wrong, but quickly fixed by someone else.) If you know of any particular problem with that link, or any other one we’ve linked to, please let us know.

    (published on 12/06/2011)

    Follow-Up #5: Fruit-powered Radio Control (RC) Car

    (published on 01/13/2012)

    Follow-Up #6: pH and fruit batteries: data

    Many thanks for this info.

    (published on 02/18/2012)

    Follow-Up #7: fruit batteries and pH

    Let’s start with the definite part of the answer. Canola oil is a mostly non-polar solvent, in which ions are almost insoluble. I don’t believe even those “fatty acids” in it dissociate much into ions in this oily environment. The Zn, Cu etc. just don’t go into solution, so there’s no reaction to drive the current. With almost no mobile charges to carry current, it’s also an insulator. So it can’t form a battery, and can’t even be included in the circuit.

    All your other items were mainly water, with various extras. In them, the different propensities of Zn and Cu to dissolve as ions cause a voltage to build up, driving a current if the circuit is completed. The experience of everybody who has written in, as well as my own limited tests, indicates that pH has little effect on the voltage of these batteries. Since saying the solution is “acid” means pretty much the same thing as saying the pH is low, it looks as if the acid part doesn’t play a big role. We were all surprised by that, but those are the facts. I guess the remarks in some of the answers above about alkaline reactions may have something to do with these results.

    Here’s how you can test if that chlorine matters. Use some distilled water (available at the grocery store) without chlorine. You could try then adding some baking soda or some clear vinegar to change pH without adding chlorine.

    (published on 01/27/2013)

    Follow-Up #8: weak fruit batteries

    Do you have access to a voltmeter? You could check that the voltage is high enough, and see how it drops when you connect the LED. Have you checked that the LED is connected with the + and – leads on the right electrodes?

    My guess is that your battery just wasn’t supplying enough current even for those little diodes. You might try using ten copper electrodes and ten zinc electrodes, wiring all the copper ones together and all the zinc ones together. Keep the copper ones spaced far apart from each other, and the same with the zinc, so that the ion currents inside the fruit from different electrodes don’t overlap too much. Don’t put the copper and zinc very far from each other. You may need several pieces of fruit.

    (published on 02/18/2013)

    Follow-Up #9: ammeter for fruit batteries

    You should be able to get a good digital multimeter (DMM), that can measure down to 10μA or less for about $50. I believe the business about only doing short current measurements only applies for large currents. The small currents you’re measuring should be fine for continuous measurements.

    (published on 03/08/2013)

    Follow-Up #10: apple batteries beat lemon

    Joep- Your experience is similar to those of our other readers. We’re happy to post your question in the hope that someone will explain the result to all of us.

    (published on 04/23/2013)

    Follow-Up #11: permeable potatoes

    That’s quite possible. One of our earlier answers discused the permeability issue. One could do various tests, such as comparing lemon juice with a lemon.

    (published on 07/26/2013)

    Follow-Up #12: fruit juice battery experiment

    That’s a wonderful experiment! Thanks for settling that question.

    We still don’t know the reason, but you and your daughter eliminated one of our wrong ideas.

    (published on 11/01/2015)

    Follow-Up #13: current from battery

    It’s ok because the currents from all the batteries go through the RC car as they loop around.

    Unfortunately our question-asking function doesn’t allow posting pictures. It’s very limited because allowing more flexibility makes it easier for hackers to mess up the site.

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    Introduction

    Every one of us is familiar with the school experiment involving a lemon conducting electricity. This 5th grader experiment, though simple, still arouses curiosity in people of all ages. However, there are many who still don’t know as to how and why electricity is produced from a lemon. In this article we will try to unravel the mystery once and for all.

    Understanding the Basics

    All of us know how an electro-chemical battery works. The construction and working of the lemon experiment can be compared to a conventional battery having electrodes and electrolyte. “Lemon battery”, as the experiment is popularly known, requires two external metal electrodes in the same way; however the electrolyte is supplied by the lemon itself.

    In a conventional battery, the two electrodes are two different metal pieces (Usually copper and zinc), submerged in an acidic solution (electrolyte) and connected through an external wiring to a voltmeter or a small bulb. Similarly, for a “lemon battery” experiment, two different metals in the form of a zinc nail and a copper coin are inserted into a juicy lemon. The lemon battery is also known as a voltaic battery which produces electricity by converting chemical energy to electrical energy.

    How is Electricity Produced?

    For understanding how electricity is produced in a lemon we will go through the basic principle of transfer of electrons and electro-chemical reactions. The juice of lemon is acidic in nature and works as a powerful electrolyte. The lemon itself serves as a reservoir for transfer of electrons to and from the electrodes. When the two electrodes, copper and zinc, are suspended in the acidic lemon juice, the atomic structure of the atoms of both the electrodes starts breaking, resulting in production of individual electrons.

    Both the electrodes are not in contact with each other and thus a flow of electrons is generated through the electrodes and electrolyte. The copper acts a positive electrode and the zinc acts as the negative electrode. Both the metals are good conductors of electricity and thus a flow of electrons take place from the negative to positive electrode. This free flow of electrons results in the generation of an electric potential. Depending on this electrons flow rate, the amount of voltage generated is measured using a voltmeter. Thus this experiment proves that electricity can also be generated just by plain chemical reaction.

    However, it is to note that electricity will be generated only when the battery circuit gets completed by external wiring. Also, it is not the lemon which is the source of energy, but the chemical change in the zinc that produces electricity. The zinc electrode, when inside the lemon, gets oxidized by releasing electrons and goes to a lower energy state. This leads to the transfer of electrons from a high energy state electrode to a low energy state electrode. Thus, lemon just serves as an environment for the generation of electricity; however doesn’t produce any electrons on its own.

    The voltage produced by a single lemon is very small. However, a series of lemons can be used to increase the voltage of the whole battery. A series involving four lemon batteries can easily light an LED.

    13 Answers

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    A lemon battery is made up of two metallic electrodes comprising of two different metals. Lemon battery is just a small experiment which shows how batteries work. Although the lemon battery is not strong enough to make a light bulb work, however it is strong enough to power up a LED (Light Emitting Diode).

    The lemon battery is also a very common experiment which is projected in many science textbooks around the world.

    To make a lemon battery you need two different metallic objects, most commonly used objects are a Galvanized Nail, a Copper Coin and a juicy lemon. Although potatoes and apples can be used, but lemon is preferred as it has more acidic value.

    The lemon used in the experiment should be disposed of immediately as it becomes poisonous because of the dissolved copper salts.

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    To make a citrus fruit battery you will need
    your fruit
    a copper nail, wire or screw about 2″ or 5 cm long
    galvanised or zinc screw, wire or nail about 2″ long or 5 cm long
    a holiday lamp with about 2″ or 5cm lead – enough to connect to the wires.

    Roll the fruit on the table to soften it up and make as much juice inside as possible. (or squeeze it with your hands)

    Insert the two nails so they are about 2″ or 5 cm apart without puncturing the other side!

    Remove about an inch of the insulation from the leads so you can wrap one end around one nail and the other on the next nail.

    When you connect the second nail the light will turn on.

    How to create a battery from a lemon

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    When Life Gives You Lemons. Make A Battery

    Electrical circuit with lemons. A chemical reaction between the copper and zinc plates and the citric acid produces a small current, that is able to power a light bulb. Science Photo Libra/Getty Images hide caption

    Electrical circuit with lemons. A chemical reaction between the copper and zinc plates and the citric acid produces a small current, that is able to power a light bulb.

    Science Photo Libra/Getty Images

    We’re going “Back To School” today, revisiting a classic at-home experiment that turns lemons into batteries — powerful enough to turn on a clock or a small lightbulb. But how does the science driving the “lemon battery” show up in those household batteries we use daily?

    Short Wave host Maddie Sofia and reporter Emily Kwong speak with environmental engineer Jenelle Fortunato about the fundamentals of electric currents and the inner workings of batteries.

    Fortunato is a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University studying materials for electrodes that can be used in solid-state batteries.

    A few years ago, she brought the “lemon battery” to classrooms through Penn State’s Science U program. Middle schoolers got particularly invested in the experimental possibilities.

    “They hooked up like 20 lemons, three cups of lemon juice, an apple, three different light bulbs and a buzzer buzzing. And it was. it was chaos. I was in awe. Leave it to kids to come up with something like that,” Fortunato said.

    You can build your very own lemon battery using Science U’s design here, written by Fortunato and Christopher Gorski of Penn State College of Engineering.

    A reminder: Do NOT play with household batteries. Be safe out there, scientists!

    You can read more about Fortunato’s research here.

    This episode was produced by Rebecca Ramirez, edited by Viet Le and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. J. Czys and Josh Newell were the audio engineers. Special thanks to Short Wave listener Violet Thomas for inviting us to dig deeper into battery science.

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    Hank shows us another SciShow: Experiment! This time he’s tackling what may be the most cliche, well-known and misunderstood experiment of all time: the lemon battery. The take home message in this one is: the electricity is NOT in the lemon. Just that delicious juice.

    Hello and welcome to SciShow experiments. Today, we’re discussing what may be the most cliche and well-known science experiment of all time [the lemon battery experiment], though what is also one of the most misunderstood science experiments of all time. The important thing to note here: the electricity is not in the lemon. First, let’s do this thing.
    Now roll the lemon a little bit to break up all the little juice packets inside, get it nice and juicy. Stick a nail in one side, it has to be a galvanized nail, meaning it’s coated in zinc. On the other side, stick something copper, I’m using copper wire.
    You’ll probably be unsurprised to discover that when I connect this volt meter to the copper and zinc, it will show some electric current. But if I asked you why there are electrons lowing from one metal to the other, there’s a fairly good chance that you would either be stumped, or you would be wrong. So let’s fix that.
    Electric chemical cells, also called batteries, require three things. Two electrodes and one electrolyte. One of the electrodes has to have a stronger desire for electrons than the other. In chemistry, we say that it has a higher electronegativity. That electrode, the one that wants the electrons more is called the cathode, and the one that gives up electrons is called the anode.
    I our lemon battery here we have copper in the wire and zinc from this galvanized nail. Copper likes having electrons more than zinc, so it’s more electronegative and thus, our cathode. But if that’s the case, why can’t we just hook the copper to the zinc, and watch the electrons zoom across? And what’s the point of the lemon? I bought a lemon and I want to use it!
    Well electrons aren’t just gonna abandon their nice stable home and make the metal all positively charged on one side ad negative on the other. There are a ton of forces that prevent that from happening. Since zinc is losing all those electrons it’s gonna have to lose protons too, and that’s where the third component comes in, the electrolyte. The wire that connects the copper and the zinc allows electrons to flow freely but protons are huge compared to electrons and they can’t move through wires, that’s not a thing that happens, but they can move into a ionic solution. An ionic solution like a dilution of citric acid. And that is our electrolyte. When zinc is exposed to the acid in the lemon juice, the acid oxidizes or removes the electrons from the zinc, and the resulting positively charged zinc ions move into solution. The resulting electrons, they collect in the metal and then rush across the wire into the copper which, if you remember, wants electrons more than zinc does. Those electrons, now in the copper, pull a couple of protons, or hydrogen ions, out of the acid and reduce them, adding electrons. The result is hydrogen gas, which, if we were in there, we might be able to see is very very tiny bubbles forming on the copper electrode. In summary, the electricity is coming, not from the lemon, but from a chemical reaction resulting from the differences in electro negativities between zinc and copper. The electrons would rather be in the copper, and the lemon juice opens a door for them to get there. Want some proof? Well, oftentimes you’ll see lemon battery experiments conducted with multiple lemons, connected in series to give you more power. But you don’t actually need to do that. If I push in three nails and three copper wires in the same lemon, I get roughly three times as much electric current. As long as there’s enough space in the lemon and enough lemon juice, the power is in the zinc, not in the lemon.
    Thank you for watching this SciShow Experiment. If you have any questions or ideas or comments we’re on Facebook and twitter, and of course down in the comments below, and if you want to keep getting smarter with us you can go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe.

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    “It really worked! We made a LEMON battery!”

    Making a lemon battery is one of the coolest science experiments we’ve ever done.

    Even though we were following lemon battery instructions we almost couldn’t believe our eyes when we connected it all together and saw the light shine. Using fruit to power lights is definitely a great way to get kids excited about STEM activities.

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    A lemon battery is a STEM project I’ve been wanting to try for awhile now so I was thrilled to get to partner with Green Works and StemBox for this post. StemBox, is a monthly subscription service aimed at young girls that delivers hands on science experiments to their front door. This month’s box was all about the power of a lemon and my girls had lots of fun experimenting with it!

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    The Stem Box arrived with everything we needed for the experiment (minus the lemons) and a few bonus items. One of the reasons we hadn’t made a lemon battery yet was that I didn’t already have all the items on hand. It was nice to have everything delivered–no special trips required.

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    How to Make a Lemon Battery

    Supplies

    • LED Bulb
    • 4 Lemons
    • Alligator Clips
    • Zinc Nails
    • Copper Wire
    • Goggles
    • Gloves

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    Step by step instructions with illustrations and an explanation of the science behind the lemon battery were included in the Stem Box. We started by rolling the lemons on the table to get them nice and juicy.

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    Then my daughter stuck a zinc nail and a piece of copper wire into each of the 4 lemons. She then used the alligator clips to connect each lemon together (nail to wire to nail to wire).

    Once the last lemon was connected she used 2 more alligator clips to connect the first and last lemon to an LED bulb. Once the circuit was completed the light lit up–we couldn’t get over how cool it was!

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    After the light lit she tinkered with it a bit further by changing the number of lemons connected and then swapping the lemons for other citrus fruit.

    How to create a battery from a lemon
    My younger daughter loved helping her sister with the STEM experiment and it ended up being the perfect project for them to do together over spring break.

    In addition to the supplies for the lemon battery Green Works also sent some other fun materials–a pin, Green Works Wipes (which came in handy because our oranges got the table quite dirty!), a STEM sticker and a super cool fruit clock. The clock can be powered by any fruit and we got such a kick of seeing it work with a single strawberry. Such a fun way to get kids interested in STEM and how things work!

    Want to try the Stem Box subscription service?

    With only 1 in every 1,000 girls pursuing STEM careers, Green Works has partnered with Stem Box to find unique and engaging ways to continue inspiring young girls to pursue a career in science. Stem Boxes are designed to be fun and inspiring for girls ages 7 to 13.

    Month to month = $36
    3 month pre-pay = $28
    6 month pre-pay = $170

    Go to Green Works or Stem Box to sign up your kids today!

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Green Works . The opinions and text are all mine.

    Don’t let the fun and discovery stop there!

    We have TONS of science experiments your kids will love on our Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids page!

    How to create a battery from a lemon

    Take me to the experiments –> Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids

    About Megan Sheakoski

    Megan is the creator of Coffee Cups and Crayons, a blog full of simple fun and learning. She believes that kids’ activities don’t have to be complicated to be fun and that learning is better with play.