Batteries come in all shapes and sizes and are used to power all kinds of equipment with electricity so that they can work. Batteries find common everyday use in devices such as torches, radios, watches, generators, computers, etc. Whilst such batteries are built by professionals in clean and controlled environments, you can make your own homemade versions with some of the objects you'll find lying around the house. The instructions listed below provide guidelines on how to make batteries using a couple of simple methods.
Method I: Lemon Battery
- 18-gauge copper wire
- Wire clippers
- Coarse sandpaper sheet
- Steel paper clip or a 2-inch strip of zinc
- Volt meter
Method II: Coin Battery
- Small bowl
- Warm water
- 6 copper coins (pennies work)
- Aluminum foil
- Two pieces of wire with the ends stripped off
- 1.5 volt penlight bulb
- Paper towels and one paper plate
Making a lemon battery.
Step 1 - Strip both ends of the 18-gauge copper wire using wire clippers.
Step 2 - Straighten out the paper clip and cut out a piece of steel about 2 inches long. As an alternative you can use a 2-inch strip of zinc.
Step 3 - Use sandpaper to smoothen out any rough edges on both the wire as well as the 2-inch steel or zinc strip.
Step 4 - Soften the lemon by rolling it between your palms, but not strong enough to break the skin.
Step 5 - Push in the copper wire and steel or zinc strip into the lemon, close together but not touching each other.
Step 6 - Connect wires to the ends of the steel and copper strips sticking out of the lemon, connect the other end of the wire attached to the copper piece to the negative terminal of the voltmeter and the wire end from the steel or zinc strip to the positive terminal of the meter. This completes the circuit and you will see the voltmeter reading registering some minor voltage of current created.
Making a coin battery.
Step 1 - Partially dissolve the salt in warm water in a bowl. Some salt should still be visible at the bottom of the bowl.
Step 2 - Place a coin on the aluminum foil and trace out a circle around it. Prepare a total of 6 such circles and cut them out from the foil.
Step 3 - Repeat the process from step 2 above, but this time with the paper towels.
Step 4 - Tape one end of the wire to one of the foil circles and place it on the paper plate.
Step 5 - Dip one paper circle in the salt solution, place it over the foil piece on the plate and follow it up with a coin. Repeat the same process until you've used up all the coins, foil and paper pieces in the same order - foil, paper, coin, and so on.
Step 6 - Tape the other end of the wire to the topmost coin. The battery is now complete.
Step 7 - You can test the battery by connecting another piece of wire to the metal end of the battery and the other end of the wire to the 1.5 volt light bulb. The bulb will light up!
You can make the above batteries using multiple sets of lemons or coins and the voltage generated will be proportionately higher. Other materials which you can use to make batteries at home include potatoes and empty film containers! This is an educational project which you can help your children make at home to show off in class or science exhibitions.