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How Potato Batteries Work

Potatoes are great mashed, roasted, baked or in clocks. That's right, potatoes are nature's tastiest battery. Check out the 411 on the science behind this powerfully delicious snack.

How to Make a Potato Battery

Making a clock run on potato power is easier that you might think. This project is easy, bizarre and makes a sweet science fair project or chemistry experiment. Who knew potatoes could be so empowering?

What You Need:

  • Two Potatoes
  • Two short pieces of heavy copper wire
  • Two common galvanized nails
  • Three alligator clip/wire units (alligator clips connected to each other with wire)
  • One simple low-voltage LED clock that functions from a 1- to 2-volt button-type battery

Steps:

  1. Remove the battery from the battery compartment of the clock.
  2. Make a note of which way around the positive (+) and a negative (-) points of the battery went.
  3. Number the potatoes as one and two.
  4. Insert one nail in each potato.
  5. Insert one short piece of the copper wire into each potato as far away from the nail as possible.
  6. Use one alligator clip to connect the copper wire in potato number one to the positive (+) terminal in the clock's battery compartment.
  7. Use one alligator clip to connect the nail in potato number two to the negative (-) terminal in the clock's battery compartment.
  8. Use the third alligator clip to connect the nail in potato one to the copper wire in potato two and set the clock!

 

How the Potato Clock works

A potato battery is an electrochemical battery, otherwise known as an electrochemical cell. An electrochemical cell is a cell in which chemical energy is converted to electric energy by a spontaneous electron transfer. In the case of the potato, the zinc in the nail reacts with the copper wire. The potato acts as a sort of buffer between the zinc ions and the copper ions. The zinc and copper ions would still react if they touched within the potato but they would only generate heat. Since the potato keeps them apart, the electron transfer has to take place over the copper wires of the circuit, which channels the energy into the clock. Presto! You have potato power.

 
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Fave Potato Dish? Vote!

  • Mmmmm... Mashed.
  • Yes I would like fries with that.
  • It's all about chips.
  • Roasted to perfection.

General In The Forums

Mellisa169
Mellisa169 posted in Random:
My sister turns 18 in as of now 20 minutes, so she's going to be locked out. I'm kind of sad, but here's to you @Katara 9296   You will be missed. Granted, she hasn't logged in in a while, but it still kind of makes me sad.
reply about 2 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
(:P So for Hearth, I'm replacing him with Solomon Wreath from Skulduggery Pleasant . And Blitz is being replaced by Kotake from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time ... except a slightly altered version of her, more of a reincarnation, since Link and Zelda are always reincarnated versions of the two same people. XD You can do the same sort of thing with your guys if you want to change the person in some sort of little way. I'll start writing as soon as you pick your dudes out.)
reply about 3 hours
unicornsrule626
(Yeah. Alrighty!!  Nooo waaay XD YAS!)
reply about 4 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
(Since it's not an RP, it's kinda pointless to make forms. We can just divvy up characters to choose, and say, for example: "Magnus is Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians. " If the other person doesn't know the character, they can research them a bit so they're more confident writing with them. So to make this completely random, I used a random number picker to assign characters to each of us. The randomness came up with you choosing the replacements for Magnus and Sam, and for me to do Hearth and Blitz.)
reply about 4 hours
unicornsrule626
"AnnaOfExquizurd" wrote: (Nice! So we're doing  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard ? And, it'd be more fun to write this with fictional characters from other universes. If we were doing  The Sword of Summer , here's the people we would likely replace with some of those swapped dudes: Magnus Blitz Hearthstone Samirah Yeah? And since this would be considered a roleplay if we just took small turns, we'll write it in larger chunks and just leave off where the other continues, and choose where each of us keeps going. I could start it out after we determine the characters, if that was confusing.) (Yeah. ok! YAY you even listed the charactersssss!!! And that's exactly what i was thinking XD It was confusing. Should be make forms?......and you can start if you want XD) 
reply about 4 hours