Cola Can Battery

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Materials:

  • A can of cola
  • A copper coin

colacan colacan2Tools:

  • Can opener
  • Crocodile clips
  • Wire wool

Step 2:

Open your can of cola and pour the contents into a cup, put it to one side we’ll be using it in awhile. Now using a can opener cut off the top of the can, put the top to one side.  Now clean and dry the inside of the can.

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Step 3: Remove Plastic Coating

The inside of the can has a protective plastic coating that we need to remove, so use your wire wool and get scrubbing. I found a way to speed this process up was to use a drill. Stuff a load of wire wool into the can and use a spade bit to rapidly turn it. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as you don’t want to go through the can. Make sure you clear out any left over wire wool before you move on.

Step 4: Complete Battery Setup

Pour the contents from the cup back into the can. Take one of your crocodile clips and attach it to your copper coin, then dip it into the drink. Attach another clip to the top of the cola can. If we take a reading we can see that we’re producing some voltage.

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Step 5: More Power

To increase the voltage we can add a bit of salt, we can also connect our cans in series. Now we’ve got enough electricity to power a small LED.

Your not going to power your home anytime soon, but having a way to produce electricity from the things around you is always a cool skill.

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Step 6: Even More Power

This cola drink can is empty and has been prepared like before. But look what happens when I add drain cleaner instead of cola.

As you can see one can alone produces 2 volts. If your going to re-create this your best doing it in a well ventilated area.

Picture of Even More Power

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Step 7: Get Your Mobile Lab Moving Again

Again adding the cans in series produces more voltage, but this time it’s at a more usable value. Now if your mobile lab breaks down in the desert you’ll be able to charge the battery.

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How to Make a Lemon Battery

Lemon Battery

lemonbatt

When your kiddo comes home with news that it is science fair time at school a quick, easy, and educational option is the lemon battery.

Make a Lemon Battery 

What You’ll Need:

  •  4 lemons
  • 4 galvanized nails
  • 4 pieces of copper
  • 5 aligator clip wires
  • A small light to power up

 

  1. Check with a grown-up before you begin.
  2. First, attach one of the paperclips to a wire.
  3. Then attach a penny to a second wire.
  4. Attach another penny to one end of the third wire, and a paperclip to the other end.

 

  1. Squeeze and roll two lemons to loosen the pulp inside.
  2. Make two small cuts in the skins of both lemons an inch or so apart.
  3. Put the paper clip that is attached to the wire and the penny into one of the cuts until you get to the juicy part of the lemon.
  4. Stick the penny into a hole in the other lemon.
  5. Put the other paper clip into the second hole of the lemon with the penny.
  6. Then put the last penny into the last open hole.

 

  1. Connect the free ends of the wires to the terminals of the digital clock.

 

  1. Watch how the lemons make enough electricity to turn the clock on. If you’ve hooked everything up and the clock isn’t running, try switching the wires.

 

  1. Here’s how this lemon battery works. There’s a chemical reaction between the steel in the paper clip and the lemon juice. There’s also a chemical reaction between the copper in the penny and the lemon juice. These two chemical reactions push electrons through the wires.
  2. Because the two metals are different, the electrons get pushed harder in one direction than the other. If the metals were the same, the push would be equal and no electrons would flow. The electrons flow in one direction around in a circle and then come back to the lemon battery. While they flow through the clock, they make it work. This flow is called electric current.
  3. This is hard to understand. So, if you need it explained to you again, be sure to talk to a parent or a teacher.

 

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Splitting Water!

Electricity is “created” when certain chemicals react together. We use chemically- made electricity to power many machines from flashlights to a watch or sometimes a car. Yes, there are cars that run on electricity! The devices that store electricity are called batteries. Electricity can also be used to produce chemical changes.
Water is a simple chemical made from two gases — hydrogen and oxygen. Every molecule of water has two atoms of hydrogen for every atom of oxygen. H2O is the chemical formula for a molecule of water.

If an electrical current is passed through water between electrodes (the positive and minus poles of a battery), the water is split into its two parts: oxygen and hydrogen. This process is called electrolysis and is used in industry in many ways, such as making metals like aluminum. If one of the electrodes is a metal, it will become covered or plated with any metal in the solution. This is how objects are silverplated.

You can use electricity to split hydrogen gas out of the water similar to the process called electrolysis.

Science Projects - Splitting Water

 

What You Need:

  1. A 9 volt battery
  2. Two regular number 2 pencils (remove eraser and metal part on the ends)
  3. Salt
  4. Thin cardboard
  5. Electrical wire
  6. Small glass
  7. Water

Sharpen each pencil at both ends.

Cut the cardboard to fit over glass.

Push the two pencils into the cardboard, about an inch apart.

 Dissolve about a teaspoon of salt into the warm water and let sit for a while. The salt helps conduct the electricity better in the water.

 Using one piece of the electrical wire, connect one end on the positive side of the battery and the other to the black graphite (the “lead” of the pencil) at the top of the sharpened pencil. Do the same for the negative side connecting it to the second pencil top.

Place the other two ends of the pencil into the salted water.

 

As the electricity from the battery passes through and between the electrodes (the pencils), the water splits into hydrogen and chlorine gas, which collect as very tiny bubbles around each pencil tip.

Hydrogen collects around the cathode and the chlorine gas collects around the anode.

How can you get chlorine from H2O? Good question! Sometimes in experiments, a secondary reaction takes place. This is what happens in this experiment.

Oxygen is not given off in this experiment. That’s because the oxygen atoms from the water combine in the liquid with the salt to form hydroxyl ions. Salt’s chemical formula is NaCl – sodium chloride. The chlorine gas is from the chloride in the salt. The oxygen in the hydroxyl ions stay in the solution. So, what is released in this reaction is not oxygen but is chlorine gas that collects around the pencil tip. Around the other pencil is hydrogen gas.

In real electrolysis systems, a different solution is used, and higher levels of electricity help to split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen without this secondary reaction.

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Electricity & Magnetism: How Resistance Produces Heat

(ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED)

This experiment will allow you to see how heat is produced by the resistance in an electrical conduit.

 MATERIALS:

  • Insulated wire with alligator clips
  • 9-Volt Battery
  • Nichrome Wire
  • Candle
  • Piece of Wood (150mm x 50mm x 20mm)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hammer & Nails

METHOD:

When electricity passes through wire it produces heat, which can be very useful in light bulbs, electrical heaters or even toasters. The reason the heat builds up is due to ‘resistance’ in an electrical conduit. While this is useful in some applications, it can also be very undesirable in motors or television sets if too much heat is produced. The heating elements in toasters are made of ‘nichrome’ which is a high resistance material. Nichrome is made of iron, chromium and nickel and is used in these application because of its high electrical resistance and ability to heat up very quickly.

This experiment will allow you to pass electrical current through a wire (nichrome) to test which side of a battery heats up first, the negative or positive terminal. Follow these steps to begin:

  1. Hammer a nail partway into each end of the flat piece of wood. This will form the base and the two nails will form the terminals that will be attached to the nichrome wire.
  2. Take a piece of nichrome wire (which can be obtained from an old toaster), wrap each end around the head of both nails, making sure the wire is slightly taut and level between both nails.
  3. With the help of an adult, drip a thin coat of wax from a lit candle onto the entire length of the nichrome wire. (You may want to use old newspaper to catch any wax that may spill.)
  4. Using the insulated wire, connect one piece to the negative terminal of the battery connecting to a nail, and then to the positive terminal of the battery to the second nail.
  5. Watch what happens! You will notice that the wax coating near the nail connecting to the negative battery terminal starts to melt faster than the wax on the opposite end.

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED:

Electricity moves or ‘flows’ through different materials faster than others. Resistance, measured in ‘ohms’ is the measurement of how well or how poor a material conducts electricity. The resistance in wire is determined by length or thickness of the wire and its material. Electrical current resistance causes friction which produces heat. Higher resistance will produce more heat.

Electricity (electrons) flow from the negative terminal of a battery and this has an excess amount of electrons, while the positive terminal of the battery lacks electrons. This experiment shows us that electrical current passing through a nichrome wire coated with wax will heat the negative terminal first due to the resistance and electron build up which want to pass through the wire to the positive terminal.

TERMS TO UNDERSTAND:

Resistance: Any material’s opposition to the flow of electric current and resistance is measured in Ohms.

Electrons: Tiny particles with a negative charge capable of creating an electrical current.

In Series: Connected one after another or in a chain rather than parallel.

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Volts and Amps: Understanding Current Flow

Volts and Amps: Understanding Current Flow 

(Adult Supervision Advised)

Materials Needed:

  • Insulated Wire with Alligator Clips
  • 1.5 Volt Battery
  • Light Bulb with Holder
  • Milliammeter
  • Voltmeter
  • Wire Cutters
  • Switch

 Follow these steps:

  1. Using about 300mm in length of the wires with alligator clips, connect the 1.5 Volt battery, the switch and the low voltage light bulb in series.
  2. Place the positive probe of the Voltmeter on the top (positive terminal) of the battery and place the negative probe of the Voltmeter to the bottom (negative terminal) of the battery. (Note: A Voltmeter measures the difference in potential across both terminals of the battery. The meter is connected ‘in parallel’ and will read 1.5 Volts, whether the lamp switch is turned on or off.)
  3. The Milliammeter needs to be connected ‘in series’ – which implies it should be connected directly in the path of the current flow. The Milliammeter measures how much current is flowing through the circuit.
  4. Once this is setup, you should notice that when the switch is open, the bulb is drawing power, also called ‘current’, so that the light can shine. This ‘power’ is measured by the Milliammeter, while the potential of the battery is measured by  the Voltmeter.

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED:

In this experiment, the path of the current is ‘opened’ by turning on the switch. This allows the current to flow from the switch through the battery and the bulb, then back to the switch. This can also be stated as the current is flowing in a ‘loop in series’.  This current flow is measured by the milliammeter and needs to be connected directly within the flow or ‘in series’. The Voltmeter measures the difference in potential across two terminals of a battery and needs to be connected ‘in parallel’. When the switch is closed, the path and the Voltmeter will still show a ‘potential’, however the milliammeter will drop to zero.

TERMS TO UNDERSTAND:

Milliammeter: A sensitive ammeter for detecting small currents, graduated in milliampereres, or amps.

Voltmeter: An instrument for measuring electrical potential in volts.

In Parallel: Connected at the same time. Electrical components connected sided by side, instead of in series.

In Series: Connected one after another. Electrical components connected in a chain, instead of in parallel.

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Make Your Own Telegraph

(Adult Supervision is Advised)

MATERIALS:

9-Volt Battery

Copper Wire 

Nail

Pieces of Wood

Thin copper plate

Copper Screws

 

In 1847, Samuel Morse received the patent for his invention of the telegraph. Many years before cell phones, the only method of communication was sending someone a message by a horse rider. The telegraph became the first method for instant delivery of messages and the starting point for future technology. Follow these steps and you will be sending Morse Code messages using your very own telegraph.

MAKING YOUR TELEGRAPH:

In order to make a telegraph, you will be making two devices: a ‘sender’ and a ‘receiver’. The ‘sender’ will be used to send the outgoing message and the ‘receiver’ will be used to receive the incoming message.

Making the SENDER:

    • Take one piece of wood that is approximately 50mm x 100mm x 20mm and set it in front of you.
    • Cut out a thin strip of bendable copper about 15mm x 60mm.
    • Bend a portion of the copper upward and screw the flat end into the piece of wood.
    • Place a screw under the bent end of copper, so that the copper will touch the top of the screw when pressed down.

Making the RECEIVER:

    • Nail 2 pieces of wood together into and L shape.
    • Slightly hit a nail into the open side of the wood and wrap the nail will copper wire about 20mm in diameter, using tape to hold it in place, if necessary. (The nail needs to remain 3-4mm below the upright side of the L shape in the wood.)
    • Cut out another piece of bendable copper, the same size as used in making the Sender, making sure it ‘hovers’ over the head of the nail.
    • Join one end of the coiled wire to the fixed end of the sender and the other end to one of the battery terminals.  Connect the other battery terminal to the screw beneath the free end of the sender strip.

This completes the construction of your very own telegraph and you can now start sending Morse Code using the chart we have provided!

 Morse Code Chart

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED:

When the ‘sender’ switch is pressed down, the strip makes contact with the screw underneath and the electrical circuit is complete.  Current then flows through the coil turning it into an electromagnet and pulls or attracts the copper plate above it to make a clicking sound.  When the sender switch is released, the current does not flow through the coil anymore, the magnetism is lost, and the copper plate is released.  These clicks are used to send messages in Morse code, clicking quickly for dots and slowly for dashes.

TERMS TO UNDERSTAND:

Morse Code: A telegraph code in which letters and numbers are represented by strings of dots and dashes.

Electromagnet: Type of magnet whose magnetic field is produced by the flow of electric current.  The magnetic field disappears when the current ceases.

 

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Egg Experiment

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A hard-boiled egg
  • A clear long neck bottle
  • 3 matches
  • Adult help/supervision

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First you’ll need to hard boil the egg.  Let the egg cool and then peel the shell off of it.  Next, grab your bottle and your adult.  Take the 3 matches and light them all at the same time and drop them in the bottom of the bottle.  When the flames go out, place the egg gently on top of the bottle (at the mouth).  Observe what happens next.

By burning the air inside the bottle, it also decreases the pressure inside the bottle causing the egg to decrease in size.  Eggs are not solids.  They have air pockets in them sort of like sponges do.  When the egg decreases in size it becomes a solid, which in turn, allows it to slide through the opening of the bottle.

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Pressure Experiment

It’s fun, easy and inexpensive.  Please make sure there is adult supervision when doing this experiment.

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A lemon
  • Water
  • A knife
  • Scissors
  • A balloon
  • A rubber band
  • A mason or jam jar

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First take the scissors and cut the neck of the balloon off and have an adult remove the lemon peel from the lemon.  Cut a large piece of the lemon peel into the shape of a boat or fish (something water related).  Fill the jar with water and drop your shaped lemon peel into the water.  Stretch the balloon to cover the top of the mason jar and wrap the rubber band around the mouth of the jar to secure the stretched balloon in place.  You want to make sure that the balloon is stretched as tight as possible.  Lightly press down on the balloon cover with your finger.

What happened?  Did the lemon peel dive in the water?  It should have.  And in turn when you release your finger from the balloon cover, the lemon peel should come back up to the surface of the water.  Can you figure out why this happens?  The pressure from your finger squashes the tiny air bubbles inside the lemon peel allowing water in, thus, causing it to dive down in the water.  And when you remove your finger from the balloon cover, the lemon peel will expand and float back up to the surface.  Cool, huh?

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Fresh Water Experiment

First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this study:

  • Salt
  • Water
  • A tablespoon
  • Large clear bowl
  • Small glass
  • Saran wrap
  • Sunny day

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  First, you need to look at the weather and make sure that it’s sunny outside and will be the rest of the day.  Grab the large clear bowl and fill it with water.  Take the tablespoon and stir several tablespoons of salt into the water until the salt has dissolved.  Place the small empty glass in the middle of the large clear bowl then cover the bowl completely with saran wrap so that no air can get through.  Leave the bowl out in the sun (preferably for a few days) and observe what happens.

What happened?  Is there fresh water in the small glass?  There should be.  Can you figure out why?  The heat from the sun should form water vapor from the salt water in the bowl on the underside of the saran wrap.  The vapor then condenses on the saran wrap and drips into the small glass in the middle of the bowl as fresh water.  Cool, huh?

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No Gravity Water Experiment

This experiment is fun, easy and inexpensive.  You’ll have to be very careful though so you don’t accidentally get soaked…..

First you need to gather up the materials you will need.  Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

  • A tall glass filled to the top with water
  • A piece of cardboard

Are you ready?  Let’s get started.  Put the cardboard over the top of the glass (the mouth of the glass).  You need to be very careful to make sure that there are no air bubbles getting into the glass as you’re holding the cardboard in place.  Turn the glass upside down preferably over a sink or outside in the grass just to make sure you did it right.  Then remove your hand holding the cardboard.

What happened?  If you did everything correctly, the water should move and the cardboard shouldn’t.  The cardboard will stay at the bottom of the glass and the water should stay suspended in the bottom of the upside down glass.  Cool, huh?  Can you figure out how this is all happening?  The air pressure from outside the glass is greater than the water pressure inside the glass (since there is no air inside the glass).   That air pressure manages to hold the cardboard in place and keep the water suspended in the glass defying gravity (while keeping you and your friends dry!).

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