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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


  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 Potato Batteries Work

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.

How Potato Batteries Work
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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.

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Kirsteeeeen posted in General:
awh thank you!!!
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Tre- posted in Debating:
Both of the candidates are horrible in my opinion. As to who will win, there's no questions asked, Hillary will win. To me, it's very obvious at this point. Good thing she will only be in office for four years, because there's not a chance that she wins two elections in a row.
reply 7 minutes
ValenciaRose posted in General:
Today is @Kirsteeeeen's birthday and tomorrow is @genius@23's (the tagging feature doesn't work on her username xD lol) birthday so I just wanted to wish the both of you a very happy birthday.  @Kirsteeeeen you have been a junior mod for so long and you're really friendly. your name is so pretty and you are officially 18 yay!! happy birthday & have a great day. enjoy the perks of being eighteen.  Aastha... I hope you have a wonderful day. I care about you a lot and you are really important to me. You are one of my closest friends here and I hope you have an incredible day. You are so exceptionally gifted and I know you will do well in your studies. I want you to realise that you are an amazing person. Happy 15th birthday. I'm so lucky to have you as a friend and just always be you what more can I say? ;) ♥ (Also if it is your birthday happy birthday too I just wanted to wish my friends and dedicate this to them ^_^) 
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( *thumbs up* )
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AlphaT posted in Debating:
"Wishyouweremehehe" wrote:Since the baby isn't fully developed at that point it can not feel, learn, think, remember etc. so aborting it up until that point is completely harmless cause the baby has yet to know anything its basically just a wad of cells like a tumor till about 6 months in term.  First off, thank you for the dedicated comment. I hope you'll be okay if my response is also as lengthy.  Secondly, most of what you said is false. By week sixteen of pregnancy, the baby's nervous system is developing. By the eighteenth week, the head can be distinguished from the rest of the body. At week 22, the baby's lungs are functioning correctly, the baby has hair, the baby can hear and distinguish sounds, and can also suck their thumb. Finally, by week 25, the nervous system is fully connected from the brain to the rest of the body.  An abortion at the end of six months would be at the 26th week of pregnancy.  "Wishyouweremehehe" wrote:Aborting a baby in those months is literally like throwing away an egg that happened to grow No, it would be like breaking the egg and ripping the baby bird inside limb from limb...which is what an abortion is. The baby is in an egg, and then it's shredded and sucked out. It's not wrong to throw away the egg of a chicken, just as it's not wrong to eat a hen. However, we can agree that it is wrong to eat a human being. Clearly, there's a big difference between humans and animals, so you can't make these sorts of analogies.  "Wishyouweremehehe" wrote: in the United States thousands of people go bankrupt from medical bills including bills for child birth (which is ridiculous I don't think anyone should be charged for giving birth, thank god for canada's medical system) and that can put the mother out on the street homeless with a baby Thousands of people go bankrupt from medical bills if they have a very sick child, that doesn't give them a right to kill their kid does it?  "Wishyouweremehehe" wrote:Having a baby isn't a good option for everyone, think about girls in school or college who get forced or whose partner convinces them not to use protection and then run out on them? If a woman is forced into pregnancy, I find it a moral disaster. I think that the father should be brought to justice. But, the mother still has the responsibility of being a mother, no matter how fair or unfair it may be for her. The responsibility has been thrust upon her, it should not have been, but killing a child to unburden the mother is just as unjustified as the #### itself.  Now, if a woman is convinced into not using protection, then it is her choice to shoulder the consequences. She consented.  "Wishyouweremehehe" wrote:. And what about Mothers who just don't want that stress on their body? Cause birth is painful and exhausting and it can physically change a person. Then they should not have chosen to get pregnant in the first place, of if they were forced, then killing a child is still not a justifiable means to end her discomfort.  "Wishyouweremehehe wrote:And what of the girls who it would possibly die when giving birth ? Then a doctor should determine which human life is more viable, and make every effort to save that life.  "Wishyouweremehehe wrote:I strongly believe that no one should be able to force a person to something with their own body that they don't want to, now I don't exactly recommend abortion but I believe a woman would know when its a good time or not for her to have a baby. And by "their own body", you're referring to the body inside a mother, right? See, there's another living being inside of the mother, and what she does with her body effects her son/daughter directly.  Also, what do you mean by a "good time" to have a baby? That's so subjective. You want to hinge a baby's life on how a mother feels?  "Wishyouweremehehe" wrote:If a man can walk out of a pregnancy so can a woman. Sorry, but that's just not true, for the very fact that a man doesn't get pregnant and a woman does. The situations are different. 
reply about 6 hours