Forget lemonade! Turn lemons into electricity.
Just because the world is coming to an end doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to play video games or charge your phone. Is it really possible to get electricity from your lemons? Of course it is. The best part is you don’t need an electrical engineering degree to do it! The lemon battery is called a voltaic battery, which changes chemical energy into electrical energy. The battery is made up of two different metals (the steel paper clip and the copper wire). 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.Here’s what you do need:
- 18-gauge copper wire (smaller gauge will work too, but 18-gauge is stiffer)
- Wire clippers
- Steel paper clip (Some people find that a 2-inch strip of zinc works better)
- Sheet of coarse sandpaper
Here’s what you do:
- Strip 2 inches of insulation off the copper wire. Clip the 2 inches of bare wire with the clippers.
- Straighten out the paper clip and cut about 2 inches of the straightened steel wire, or use a 2-inch piece or strip of zinc.
- Use sandpaper to smooth any rough spots on the ends of the wire and paper clip or piece of zinc.
- Squeeze the lemon gently with your hands. But don’t rupture the lemon’s skin. Rolling it on a table with a little pressure works great.
- Push the pieces of the paper clip and the wire into the lemon so they are as close together as you can get them without touching.
- Moisten your tongue with saliva. Touch the tip of your wet tongue to the free ends of the two wires. You should be able to feel a slight tingle on the tip of your tongue and taste something metallic.