Make Electricity Science Project (Part Two of Two)
Make Electricity from Copper Sulfate Electrolyte
For this experiment we decided to use copper sulfate as electrolyte because copper sulfate is widely available at hardware stores and pull suppliers. You can also get small sheets of copper and zinc from hardware stores. If you could not find zinc, just get a galvanized iron. It does the same thing in a few seconds until the layer of zinc is destroyed. You will need to add a few drops of sulfuric acid for the process to speed up and turn on the light. Sulfuric acid also is known as battery acid and can be purchased from auto parts store. You need diluted sulfuric acid (about 5 to 10%). Acid sulfuric is very corrosive and you must have gloves, goggles and protecting clothing while handling it.
Material needed are:
• 2 plastic or ceramic cup
Although the process starts and electricity is being produced, the light bulb may still be off. Add a few drops of sulfuric acid to expedite the process and get some light. To stop the process, remove the zinc plate. If you want to test the voltage, make sure you unscrew the bulb first. This process will release hydrogen that is hazardous and breathing that will cause choking. So do the experiment in a well ventilated place and avoid keeping your head right above the cup.
This chemical reaction creates about 0.7 volts that is barely light up a 1.2 Volts bulb. But is not able to light up a 2.5 volts bulb that is shown in this picture.
Now you know why I insist on low voltage bulb for this test.
This picture shows the bulb in the last experiment.
Testing other electrolytes such as salt water and lemon juice produced much less electricity and no lights at all.
We decided to repeat the first experiment with 5 small cups and smaller pieces of copper and zinc plated screw instead of zinc.
Even though we had 2.3 volts of electricity, it could not turn on the light. The reason is that small electrodes can not create enough electric current.
Latest Update: (Make a Sandwich)
Procedure: Make about 30 mL saturated solution of Copper Sulfate.
Cut 2 pieces of felt about 1/2” smaller than your copper and zinc plates both in length and width.
Place one copper electrode on the table and connect it to one side of the light bulb.
Insert one piece of felt in saturated copper sulfate and place it on the center of the copper plate.
Insert another felt in copper sulfate and then place it on the center of the top copper plate.
Finally place another zinc on the top and connect that to the other side of the light bulb. You should get the light.
• Notes: Felt should get wet, but it should not have any excess liquid running off the felt.
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