Lemon Light Bulb Experiment

Did you know that you could easily make a battery at home?

You can do that by using lemons.

Yes, lemons!

Lemons are sour and carry a lot of citric acid.

Of course, it will not be a powerful battery that can power your refrigerator or a toy car.

But the chemical reaction generates enough energy to power a small LED light and make it light up a bit.

Lemon battery experiments for kids is not hard at all, but you do need a few special equipment.

This lemon science project is a fun science experiment for kids, too.

Let’s start building lemon cells step by step.

Lemon battery experiment

How To Use Lemon To Power Light

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Learn how to use fruits to generate electricity.

Materials

  • lemons (You can start with 4. In general, the more you use, the more power can be generated)
  • low voltage LED light bulb (you can buy small LED diodes or get one from an old Christmas string light decoration)
  • pieces of copper wire
  • galvanized zinc nails (the same number as the number of lemons used)
  • electrical wires or alligator clips wires

Tools

  • wire cutter
  • adult supervision

Instructions

  1. Roll and squeeze the lemons a little bit by hand to release the juice inside.
  2. In each lemon, insert 1 zinc nail and 1 small strip of copper wire. Leave a small section in each one out for the electrical wires to connect.
  3. Using an electrical wire, connect the nail in one lemon to the copper strip in another lemon. Do this to each lemon to form a chain.

    Connect 3 lemons together using nails, coppers and alligator clips to form a chain
  4. In the first lemon, connect the copper to the long leg of the mini LED bulbs. In the last lemon, connect the nail to the shorter end of the LED light (the shorter leg comes out of the flat side of the LED).
  5. Voila! You have made a battery.

    Using the lemon setup, LED is lit

Notes

Basics of Battery

Batteries are made of two different types of metal suspended in an acidic solution.

In this experiment, copper and zinc (galvanized nails are zinc-plated) are the two metals. The acidic lemon juice serves as the acidic solution.

An electric current is created when the two metals have different tendencies to lose the negatively charged electrons.

Because zinc metal loses electrons more readily than copper, zinc is the negative electrode (anode) and copper is the positive electrode(cathode). 

When the battery is connected with a LED bulb, it becomes a closed complete circuit.

The zinc electrode, the LED bulb, and the copper electrode form a complete electronic circuit for the electrical current to go through.

Explore

Let's explore more in this classic science experiment. Can you try the experiment again with the following modifications and see what differences they make?

  • Use a different types of citrus fruits to make a fruit battery.
  • Use other substances such as a vegetable or a cup of tap water as the conducting solution.
  • Use different metals as the electrodes.
  • Can you make a coin battery using the same principles?
  • Can a potato battery work similarly?
  • Is a sour flavor in fruits necessary for the battery to work?

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References

  • Electrochemical Cells by HyperPhysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University
LED is powered up with by a lemon! Homemade battery using lemons, nails and wires. It's so simple!

Last update on 2024-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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