Lemon Battery Experiment

Introduction on Lemon Battery

The battery is a container consisting of one or more cells. In a battery, chemical energy is present which is converted into electricity and used as a source of power. When a battery is supplying electric power, its negative terminal is the anode and a positive terminal is a cathode. The lemon battery is a type of voltaic battery. The main goal of making a lemon battery is converting chemical energy in the lemon into electrical energy, thereby creating enough electricity to power a small watch or LED. 


What is a Lemon Battery

A lemon battery is a battery which is made up of two different metals, acting as electrodes or places where electrons can enter or leave a battery. All voltaic batteries need their metals to be placed in an electrolyte. It is a substance that can carry electrical current when dissolved in water. All batteries stop working when there is not enough of the electrolyte to react with the metal or not enough metal left to react with the electrolyte. The electrolyte in our lemon battery is lemon juice just like normal batteries as it contains acid. Our zinc and copper plates are called electrodes, and the lemon juice is our electrolyte.


Lemon Battery Experiment Materials

Lemon battery experiment has the electrons flowing from the zinc plate, through the lemon juice to the copper plate or by using aluminum because the aluminum foil is a good conductor. A piece of copper metal and a piece of zinc are inserted into a lemon and connected by wires. In this experiment, one can make a very low voltage battery. The amount of electricity generated by this battery is safe and one will even be able to test it by touching their finger into it and feeling the low current. For this experiment, the material required is:-

  • A lemon

  • Two pennies

  • Paper towels

  • Scissors, ruler, knife.

  • Aluminum foil

  • Wire clipper/stripper

  • Steel paper clip, a piece of zinc or a small galvanized nail

  • 18 (or Small) gauge copper wire 


How to Make a Lemon Battery 

Procedure:-

  1. Place the lemon on its side on a plate and use the knife to make a small cut near the middle of the lemon. Make the cut about one centimeter deep and two centimeters long.

  2. Make a second similar cut parallel to the first cut and about one centimeter away.

  3. Then, push a penny in the first cut until only half of it is showing above the lemon skin. A part of the penny should be in contact with the lemon juice because that is what serves as the electrolyte. 

  4. Slide one of the aluminum strips in the second cut until you are sure to part of the aluminum is in contact with the lemon juice.

  5. Now, it has two electrodes made of different metals and an electrolyte separating them.

  6. With a plastic-coated paper clip, attach the second aluminum strip to the part of the penny sticking out of the lemon to make a connection. The aluminum should touch the penny so that the telectricity can pass between the copper and aluminum.

  7. And, when the two aluminum strips touch one another, electricity will be produced in the battery and flow through the strips, from one electrode to the other.

Keep the two strips apart and touch the fingertip to them. One can feel a tingling that creates a small amount of electricity running from one aluminum strip to the other through the body. The battery that is just made has strips of aluminum. Then, it will generate electricity as soon as the electricity has a path to flow from one electrode to the other. One can also create this path using copper and aluminum electrodes because that also conducts electricity well. The lemon battery gave the least amount of voltage as compared to the store brought batteries, but still had an average of .210 volts.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can a Lemon Power a Light Bulb?

When one connects a voltmeter to a single cell lemon battery, the meter tells that lemon battery creates a voltage of 0.906 volts. The zinc nail and the copper penny are called electrodes which are used in a lemon battery. Many materials called conductors allow electrons to flow through them. Most metals are good conductors of heat. Sometimes, aluminum foils are also used in a lemon battery in place of zinc and copper nail. Electrons will flow from the electrode of a battery, through a conductor. And as we know, it creates a voltage of 0.906 volts. Unfortunately, the lemon battery will not produce enough current to light a bulb.

2. What is The Chemical Reaction in a Lemon Battery?

We can find many variations of the lemon cell that use different fruits(or liquids) as electrolytes and metals apart from zinc and copper as electrodes. The energy does not come from the lemon. The energy comes from the chemical changes in the zinc when it dissolves into the acid. Zinc is oxidized in the lemon and starts exchanging some electrons with the acid in order to reach a lower energy state and the energy released provides the power. The power generated by the reaction of the metals is used to power a small device like a watch or light-emitting diode (LED).