How Does It Work? Potato batteries use the acids in the potato to start a reaction with two electrodes made of different metals that cause electrons to flow from one to the other through the potato, producing power. The potato acts as a salt bridge, connecting the anode to the cathode. The potato is not a source of electricity by itself.
The potato battery experiment works in part because of electrolyte activity in the potato. Electrolytes are found in salty and acidic foods, and these properties in potatoes and other vegetables are what make them potential batteries. Students can conduct another experiment using potatoes by enhancing their electrolyte content.
Have your child remove the battery from the battery compartment of the clock or watch. Ask them to number the potatoes as "1" and "2." Insert one nail into each potato, as well as the copper wire. Have your child use one alligator clip to connect the copper wire in potato number 1 to the positive (+) terminal in the clock's battery compartment.
How the Potato Clock works 2. 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 as a whole becomes the cell casing, its juice works as a conductor or electrolyte, allowing the flow of charged ions, and the phosphoric acid naturally present in potatoes provides the hydrogen ions (H+) for the chemical reaction.
How does a battery work? What is current? What is voltage? What happens when you put two batteries in series? What happens when you put two batteries in parallel? You will then use what you have learned to design a potato battery to light two LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). I will tell you now, the two LEDs need 1.6 volts and 2 milliamps.
The potato battery is simple enough to craft, using a potato, some insulated copper wire, a galvanized nail and a penny coin. According to PBS Kids, all you need to do is simply cut a potato in half.Then wrap a piece of insulated copper wire around a galvanized nail on one end. Wrap another piece around a penny. Stick both in one half of the potato, and make sure they are not touching.
The process to create a potato battery powered clock is similar to the potato battery powered light bulb. The negative and positive terminals of the light bulb are simply replaced with the negative and positive terminals of the clock. The voltage generated by a potato can also be tested by replacing the light bulb/clock with a galvanometer[sc:4].
The potato battery kit, which includes two metal electrodes and alligator clips, is easy to assemble and, some parts, such as the zinc cathode, can be inexpensively replaced.
Good enough to serve as a substitute battery to those who can't afford the real thing, even. Smithsonian Mag writes: "Using small units comprised of a quarter-slice of potato sandwiched between a copper cathode and a zinc anode that’s connected by a wire, agricultural science professor Haim Rabinowitch and his team wanted to prove that a system that can be used to provide rooms with LED ....