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The first battery was created in 1799 by Alessandro Volta. Today batteries provide the
power for an amazing variety of devices including everything from flashlights to robots,
computers, satellites and cars. Inventors and researchers continue to improve the battery,
designing batteries that last longer and that are friendlier to our environment.
I chose this topic because I have an interest in making batteries out of things we use every day,
such as fruit and vegetables.
Batteries generate electricity through a chemical reaction between two different electrodes and
one electrolyte. An electrode is a conductor through which electricity enters or leaves an object,
substance, or region and an electrolyte is a liquid or gel that contains ions and can be
decomposed by electrolysis.
A battery produces an electric current when its terminals are connected to each other to form a
circuit. All batteries contain two electrodes and an electrolyte, which produces the chemical
reaction through the electrodes resulting in a current. In "dry" batteries, like those used to power
small toys (AA, AAA batteries for example) the electrolyte is a paste of powdered chemicals.
"Wet" batteries, like those in cars, contain a liquid electrolyte. A batterys voltage depends on the
metals that are used in its electrodes.
In a standard battery, there is a strong metal case which usually consists of powdered zinc and a
form of magnesium oxide, both mixed with an alkaline electrolyte. The electrolyte causes a
chemical reaction in which the zinc becomes zinc oxide and the magnesium oxide gains
All batteries have a positive and negative terminal. Electric current is a flow of atomic
particles called electrons. Certain materials, called conductors, allow electrons to flow through
them. Most metals (copper and iron as examples) are good conductors of electricity. Electrons
will flow from the negative electrode of a battery, through a conductor, towards the positive
electrode of a battery. Volts (voltage) is a measure of the force moving the electrons. Use of
Copper and Zinc as the electrodes, and Sulfuric acid (the liquid in a fruit or vegetable) as the
electrolyte is a proven method for this process.
The components of a fruit or vegetable that affect the amount of electricity produced is the liquid
in the fruit or vegetable itself. The liquid is composed of sulfuric acid, water and a various other
liquids. Sulfuric acid is the only thing that the fruit produces or is used to make a battery work.
My hypothesis is that: If the electrolyte source is changed (potato, apple, lime, lemon), then the
production of energy (measured in volts) using a lemon will produce the highest voltage because
the acid content in the fruit or vegetable will produce electricity when in contact with the
electrodes (both zinc and copper).
My hypothesis states that the lemon will produce the greatest voltage. The reason I chose this
fruit is because it is the prime candidate for the production of the acid content needed to have a
higher voltage because there is more liquid in the fruit. (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/sciencefair-projects/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=8528)