All materials are made up of atoms which
come together in groups and form molecules.
In a chemical reaction, the atoms of
different molecules rearrange, and form new
molecules. Sometimes when this happens, a part of
the atom, the electron, is released and leaves the
newly formed molecule. In a battery, two
types of chemical reactions occur:
one that produces electrons
one that consumes electrons.
These reactions are connected by a wire so that
the electrons from one reaction flow through the
wire to the other reaction. This flow of
electrons is called electricity and can be
used to do useful work like charging a cell phone!
The two reactions are also connected by a
salt solution (called an electrolyte
solution), which allows charged atoms
called ions to flow between the reactions.
This flow of ions is needed, because the reactions
cause charge to build up near the surfaces that
must be balanced by opposite charges for the
reaction to continue to happen.
So, to make a battery, you need to have two
different reactions connected by an electrolyte
solution. For example, a zinc coated nail
and a copper coated penny inserted into a
lemon gives you two reactions, one
occurring at the surface of the nail, and one at
the surface of the penny. The electrons
transferring between these reactions gives you
enough electricity to run an LED lightbulb!
Both apples and Canada Dry work
as an electrolyte solution, but to produce
power, you need two reactions to occur. So, you
could try inserting a nail and a penny into the
apple to see how an apple battery compares to a
Click Here to return to the search form.