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Potato Battery

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Potatoes are great and tasty; there are hot potatoes, French fried potatoes, baked potatoes and scalloped potatoes. On the other hand, we can use it to make batteries to solve the blackouts problem, instead of living in darkness. It is very simple to make, and it does not need expensive materials.

Materials

- One large potato
- Two coins
- Two zinc-plated nails
- Three pieces of copper wire
- One very small light bulb, or LED light.

Procedures

1. Cut the potato in half, then cut a small slit into each half, large enough to slide a coin inside.
2. Wrap some copper wire around each coin a few times. Use a different piece of wire for each coin.
3. Stick the coins in the slits you cut into the potato halves.
4. Wrap some of the third copper wire around one of the zinc-plated nails, then stick the nail into one of the potato halves.
5. Take the wire connected to the coin in the half of potato with the nail and wrap some of it around the second nail. Stick that second nail into the other potato half.
6. When you connect the two loose ends of the copper wires to the light bulb or LED it will light up.

How Does It Work?

Potato batteries use the acids in the potato to start a reaction with two electrodes made of different metals that cause electrons to flow from one to the other through the potato, producing power. The potato acts as a salt bridge, connecting the anode to the cathode. The potato is not a source of electricity by itself.

Potato batteries require two different metal electrodes with different electrical qualities to work. The most common materials are zinc and copper. The acids in the potato react with the metals, creating an electron imbalance at each electrode. It keeps the ions formed by the reaction separate, but conducts electricity via its water and electrolytes, the reaction forces the electrons in the copper electrode to move. This movement of electrons is an electric current and is sufficient to power small devices.

Some scientists have actually researched potatoes as a practical form of power. While many different plants can serve as batteries, potatoes are especially durable due to their high starch content. They do not rot easily nor attract pests to the same degree as fruits and other alternatives. Cooking potatoes reduces their electrical resistance and actually makes them much more powerful as batteries.

References

ask.com
miniscience.com
science.howstuffworks.com
how-things-work-science-projects.com
youtube.com

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