Extreme Science: Penny Battery - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science: Penny Battery

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What you will need:
  • Several pennies newer than 1982
  • Sandpaper
  • Bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Electrical tape
  • Small wires
  • Led (Light emitting diode)
  • Adult supervision

Procedure:

1. Pennies newer that 1982 have a Zinc core. Using your sandpaper, sand the copper off of both sides of several pennies. This will take a while……

2. Place a penny on top of your cardboard and use the pencil to draw circles around the penny. Do this for as many pennies as you are sanding. Cut out the circles and place these cardboard circles in a bowl of vinegar.

3. Tape a wire to one of you sanded pennies. Place this penny flat on the table with the wire side down.

4. Place a piece of vinegar soaked cardboard on top of this penny, followed by a regular un-sanded copper penny.

5. Stack your remaining pennies and cardboard in this same order (Zinc/Cardboard/Copper, Zinc/Cardboard/Copper, etc)

6. Tape a wire on top of the top (copper) penny. Hold the stack carefully while you add electrical tape around the stack to hold the entire stack of pennies and cardboard together.

7. Connect one wire to one end of your LED and the other wire to the opposite end of the LED. Since LED's have polarity, if it doesn't light up, try turning the LED around the other direction.

8. The LED should now be lit up from the electricity that is being generated from your penny battery.

What is going on?

A battery produces electricity through a series of electromagnetic reactions between the anode (The zinc penny), cathode (your copper penny) and electrolyte (Vinegar soaked cardboard). These oxidation reactions that are going on produce electricity as the Anode reaction produces and releases electrons while the cathode reaction absorbs electrons. The electrolyte allows the charge to flow. Your battery will continue to produce electricity until one or both of the electrodes run out of the substance necessary for the reaction to occur.

Radical Rick
Extreme Science
www.ExtremeScienceFun.com
509-892-7621

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