Thursday, 19 February 2015

Happy birthday, Volta. How to make your own battery, just like Alessandro Volta

When Alessandro Volta, born on this day in 1745, began experimenting with electricity, it was a pretty open field. Scientists experimented with everything from static electricity to frog legs, trying to harness power for later use, but they could not create a consistent source of energy.

Mr. Volta changed all that. He laid the groundwork for batteries by pioneering the use of electrolytes to conduct electricity. His breakthrough came when he stacked discs of copper, zinc, and cardboard soaked in brine into what became known as a “voltaic pile,” and successfully conducted a charge.

Sound simple? You're right. Elements of the first battery can be found in most homes and hardware stores. Today, you can celebrate the father of all things battery operated by creating your own charge.
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Here is everything you need to make two different homemade batteries.

We’ll show you two methods: through soda and through salt water.

First up, soda. Here is what you will need:

    Can of soda (We used cream soda)
    Plastic cup
    Strip of copper
    Alligator clips
    Multimeter (a device that measures charge)

First, pour the soda into the plastic cup until it almost reaches the top. Cut a strip of the aluminum can, and then sand down both sides so there is no longer a plastic or paint coating on either side (this is important or else you won’t get a charge!).

Attach one alligator clip to the aluminum and drape it over one side of the plastic cup, and attach the other alligator clip to the copper strip and drape it over the other side of the cup. Turn on your multimeter and check your voltage. You’ve just created a simple battery.

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