“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
Through the wonders of science and the power of nature comes this little amazing tip on how to make a citrus battery. This simple science lesson is easy to facilitate and safe enough for the kiddos to get involved in the process. Ready to let your lemons light the way? Then Lets Do The DIY Thang, shall we? First you’ll need the following:
- A citrus fruit (such as a lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit)
- A copper nail, screw or wire (approx. 2″ long)
- A zinc nail, screw or galvanized nail (approx. 2″ long)
- An LED light with 2″ leads
Take your fruit and using your hand, gently roll it around on the table. This is to get the power-inducing juice flowing with out breaking the skin. Next, insert the copper and zinc nails in to the fruit about 2″ apart. They should not be touching each other and make sure they’re centered in the fruit rather than puncturing through. Then take your LED light and remove enough insulation from the leads to wrap one lead around each nail. If your lead isn’t staying put, use Aligator clips or electrical tape to hold them in place. Once your second lead is wrapped around the second nail, the current from the citrus juice will immediately turn on the light!
Now that you’ve learned how to light the night with citrus, here’s why it works. The citrus battery is called a voltaic battery, which changes chemical energy into electrical energy. The battery is made up of two different metals (the zinc nail and the copper nail). These are called electrodes, which are the parts of a battery where electric current enters or leaves the battery. The electrodes are placed in a liquid containing an electrolyte, which is a solution that can conduct electricity. And there you have it! Light from Lemons and a whole new look at the ‘power’ of citrus! If you’re looking for a bit more excitement, check out how to use an apple, tangerine and banana to charge your ipod! Just another incredible reminder of how the awesome joys of science can inspire us. Whether you’re 8 years old, 80 years young or somewhere in-between…these tiny gems of nature derived electric discovery are super cool.
*Images: Caleb Charland