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A Battery That Makes cents

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arjun sharma

on 13 December 2013

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Transcript of A Battery That Makes cents

A Battery That Makes Sense
The purpose of my project is to make a battery out of coins that produces the most voltage.
If a battery made out of coins then the battery made of 5 nickels and 5 pennies will produce the most voltage.
Back ground/ Research
The voltaic pile was the first electrical battery that could continuously provide an electrical current to a circuit. (Brain et al.) It was invented by Alessandro Volta, who published his experiments in 1800. In honor of Alessandro Volta’s achievements the SI unit of electro motion is now called a volt. (Brain et al.)
The way a voltaic pile makes electricity is as follows. The movement of electrons is key to electricity. The electrons in a voltaic pile move from one metal to the other through a saltwater solution. The saltwater solution is called an electrolyte, and it contains ions in solution from the dissolved salts. The ions react with the metals causing an electrochemical reaction, a special kind of chemical reaction that makes electrons. (Agee) The two metals in a voltaic pile are called electrodes. One metal becomes positively charged and the other becomes negative. This causes electrons to move, creating an electrical current. This electrical current produces electricity which can be measured in volts.
The voltaic pile in this experiment consists of vinegar, salt, quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. Vinegar represents the electrolytes and the salt represents the ions in the batteries. The nickels, quarters, and pennies represent the electrodes in the voltaic pile. The purpose of this experiment is to figure out how to produce the most voltage using only coins to construct batteries. Each battery will be 10 coins high and be constructed with different coins alternating between quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. Battery 1 will have pennies and nickels. Battery 2 will have quarters and pennies. Battery 3 will have quarters and nickels. Battery 4 will have dimes and pennies. Battery 5 will have dimes and quarters. Battery 6 will have dimes and nickels. The voltage of each battery will be measured with a multimeter. A multimter can be used to measure volts. Volts can be measured in A/C (alternating current) or D/C (direct current) voltage. This experiment will use D/C readings.

· Pennies (15)
· Nickels (15)
· Quarter (15)
· Dimes (15)
· Mild dish soap
· White Vinegar
· Small bowl
· Salt (1/2 Tsp)
· Small plate (plastic)
· Digital multimeter

· Paper towels
· Scissors
· Ruler
· Spoon
· Measuring spoon
· 9 volt battery
· Pencil
· Tweezers
· Spiral note book

1. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/2 Tsp. of salt.
2. Stir till it is dissolved into a solution.
3. Using scissors cut up a paper towel into small squares, each approximately 1 cm x 1 cm.
4. Place the small squares to soak in the bowl of salt-vinegar solution, and set them aside.
5. Gather some pennies, nickels, quarters, and dimes wash them with a mild dish soap and dry.
6. Start building the batteries on a plastic plate. Put down a penny first, then place a square of the paper towel soaked in the solution on top, and then add a nickel. Keep repeating the layers until a stack of 10 coins is made, make sure to end with a nickel on top. (battery 1)
7. Repeat step 6 but instead of using pennies and nickels use quarters and pennies. Replace the nickels role with the quarters. (battery 2)
Procedures Cont.
8. Repeat step 6 but instead of using pennies and nickels use nickels and quarters. The quarters will replace the role of the pennies. (battery 3)
9. Repeat step 6 but instead of using pennies and nickels use dimes and pennies. The dimes will replace the role of the nickels. (battery 4)
10. Repeat step 6 but instead of using pennies and nickels use dimes and quarters. Replace the pennies role with the dimes and the nickels role with the quarters. (battery 5)
11. Repeat step 6 but instead of using pennies and nickels use dimes and nickels. The dimes should replace the role of the pennies. (battery 6)
12. Before measuring the batteries measure your control (9 volt battery) to make sure the mulitmeter is working properly.
13. Once 6 batteries have been constructed attach the leads of the multimeter to the two ends of each battery. Measure the voltage produced.
14. Record all data in the spiral note book.


By testing each battery data was collected (see table 1). Battery 1 produced .007 volts of electricity. Battery 2 produced .019 volts of electricity. Battery 3 produced .001 volts of electricity. Battery 4 produced .024 volts of electricity. This battery produced the most voltage. Battery 5 produced .001 volts of electricity. Battery 6 produced 0 volts of electricity. It is significant that the batteries that produced the most voltage had copper coins in them (pennies).
This experiment proves that you can construct a battery made of house hold materials mainly coins, vinegar, and salt. My hypothesis was incorrect because 5 nickels and 5 pennies did not produce the most voltage. Battery 4 produced the most voltage even though it had the smallest coins. This is significant because it was thought that the coins with the most surface area would produce the most voltage but this was incorrect. It turned out that the copper coins contributed the most to producing the most voltage.
If this experiment was done again instead of trying to find a battery that produced the most voltage, a battery that could produce the same voltage as a regular battery (1.5 volts) could be created. It was learned that the proper operation of the multimeter is important and it should be handled with great care. It was learned that making a battery is as simple as stacking a few coins together.
Table 1
Graph 1
Full transcript