It’s annoying when you get toys at Christmas but you haven’t got batteries for them… but what if Santa’s sleigh needed Rudolph’s bright red nose was running low on juice? Without that fog light showing the Jolly Saint Nick where to go there’s no toys for anyone. But thankfully we all leave him snacks out overnight and our friend Father Christmas is a great electrochemist so he can make his own battery to recharge Rudolph’s nose! Let’s build a Christmas Dinner Battery!
Rudolph’s red nose here is lit up by a battery made out of food on the table!
Lemon Batteries and Potato Clocks
You may have seen a lemon battery – with zinc and copper electrodes. Or maybe a clock powered by a potato?
There’s an unfortunate secret hidden in these lemon batteries and potato clocks… the potato and the lemon are doing almost nothing to help the battery! It’s all about putting two different metals in contact with each other. It’s a very old bit of technology, going back as far as our friend Faraday!
But I bet you’ve never seen an entire Christmas dinner being used as a battery, have you?
We ended up with a solid 2 V out of this!
What’s the set up?
We’ve used pieces of zinc metal and copper from coins to make this battery work. Here’s the secret – metals can share electrons around. That’s how they conduct electricity! In some situations though the metals get greedy and try to take more than their share of electrons. Copper is greedier than zinc so it pulls electrons from it. As those electrons move around the circuit you’ve built they can light up Rudolph’s nose.
That’s all from X-Peri-Mas! It has been so much fun and I hope that you’ve enjoyed them too. If you try any of these experiments out please do share your results with me!