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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 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.

Random In The Forums

-Gwen9--
-Gwen9-- posted in Debating:
"AlphaT" wrote: "donteatcarrots" wrote:​no. it's mainly the people who are given the guns that need to be properly checked. the guy who killed 49 people in orlando had mental health problems and trouble with the fbi was still given a gun. this doesn't make sense at all to me. yeah he probably has knives and stuff at home which could do just as much harm- so is the gun necessary in the first place? No one is given a gun. A person has to acquire a permit, and then has to buy a gun for themselves.  Okay, yes, mental health is an obvious issue. But it needs to be for specific mental health problems. It can't be just because someone has a mental illness, because many mental illnesses won't effect the operation and use of a gun, or make it more likely for a person to hurt someone else with a gun. I support background checks which would include mental health history, but only if it's done right. Similarly, the guy who killed 49 people in Orlando was taken off the FBI watchlist. This tells me that there are flaws with the way that the watchlist is currently being used. Once that system is redone, then we can restrict those on it from buying firearms. But at its' current success rate? Not a chance.  And it's not about what's necessary...well to an extent it is, but hear me out. Weapons are used for self defense. No matter how many gun laws you have, criminals will still use firearms in their crimes. Citizens require at least an equal amount of protection that criminals use to break the law.  In other words, if you were to be the victim of gun violence, would you rather have with you a knife or a gun? Would you honestly bring a knife to a gun fight?  First of all, I agree with you. Mental health is definitely an issue! But together these issues can be addressed!!!! And as I said earlier, we can control our weapons. The government can create a harder way to get a gun or any weapon. Look at criminal records!!!! Even before getting a permit, or a license, CHECK THE RECORDS!!! This will help prevent these mass shootings.
reply about 2 hours
Hoellu
Hoellu posted in Debating:
"-Gwen9--" wrote:The second amendmant in the United States Constitution is the right to bare arms. If they take away our weapons, then they take away the second amendmant. The amendmant is there for a reason. Weapons are useful for protection. Protection is going to keep us alive. The human population, as a nation, and as a world! If we take away our weapons now we are all dead! We don't want that.  Now, killing 50 people in the Orlando shooting. That is just not right at all. It was not the gun's fault, it was the person. Same thing with the death of Christina Grimmie. Now, I personally believe that we should not take guns away, but we should find a harder process into buying a gun or some other weapon, and we should be trained properly! Look at people's criminal records, look at their other records. I don't care! As long as we still have protection, but less mass shootings! Omg, so true.
reply about 2 hours
AdeleQxeen
AdeleQxeen posted in Electronics:
I have one. I got it for my birthday last year, it's a Samsung Core Prime.
reply about 2 hours
Hoellu
Hoellu posted in Debating:
If there are polices, why are there weapons for almost anyone?Or at least they should have an special permission.
reply about 2 hours
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
"donteatcarrots" wrote:​no. it's mainly the people who are given the guns that need to be properly checked. the guy who killed 49 people in orlando had mental health problems and trouble with the fbi was still given a gun. this doesn't make sense at all to me. yeah he probably has knives and stuff at home which could do just as much harm- so is the gun necessary in the first place? No one is given a gun. A person has to acquire a permit, and then has to buy a gun for themselves.  Okay, yes, mental health is an obvious issue. But it needs to be for specific mental health problems. It can't be just because someone has a mental illness, because many mental illnesses won't effect the operation and use of a gun, or make it more likely for a person to hurt someone else with a gun. I support background checks which would include mental health history, but only if it's done right. Similarly, the guy who killed 49 people in Orlando was taken off the FBI watchlist. This tells me that there are flaws with the way that the watchlist is currently being used. Once that system is redone, then we can restrict those on it from buying firearms. But at its' current success rate? Not a chance.  And it's not about what's necessary...well to an extent it is, but hear me out. Weapons are used for self defense. No matter how many gun laws you have, criminals will still use firearms in their crimes. Citizens require at least an equal amount of protection that criminals use to break the law.  In other words, if you were to be the victim of gun violence, would you rather have with you a knife or a gun? Would you honestly bring a knife to a gun fight? 
reply about 2 hours