Currents from the Kitchen

This lab helps students learn how a circuit works from using fruits and vegetables, copper and zinc with wires to create one. We must connect all of the given objects to together using the wires and metals to create this circuit using a voltmeter to measure the volts. We also use LED lights to see how the fruit would light it up, seeing if it would be a bright charge or not.

Pre-Lab-

Purpose: The orange will produce the most electricity Hypothesis: When I attach copper to the orange, a great amount of power will be produced therefore, there will be noticeable energy.

Materials: Fruit, Voltmeter, 2 wires, 2 different metals (copper / zinc), knife

Procedure:

1.You must cut the fruit to prepare for the experiment

2. Put in the two pieces of metal given to you (Copper / Zinc)

3. Attach the voltmeter given by the teacher using wires

4. During the experiment, record all results to easily go back to the information for the next step

5.Compare the results you took during the experiment from several fruits

WHY?

The Apple will produce the greatest charge because of the amount of juice there is. In the juice there is vitamins which can help with electricity. Also, shown by google it says “We get nearly 0.45 Volt“. This means that when doing the experiment, even though the other fruits given also have energy; i feel an apple will do the best. For example, even though an orange may seem like it can produce more electricity, on google it says “An average orange will produce approximately 0.6 volts of electricity.”

Process/Observations-

Voltmeter – single fruit/veggie

Pear – .4 volts

Switched the wires.

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Cherry tomato- .35 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Small Orange- .35 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Potato- .4 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Lemon – .6 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Kiwi – .6 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Apple – .2 volts

The copper activated the charge.

LED-> no reaction – not enough volts/charge

Voltmeter – multiple fruits/veggies

2 Lemons, 2 pears, apple, potato, -> .7 volts

2 Lemons, 2 pears, apple, potato, Orange, -> .7 volts

2 Lemons, 2 pears, apple, potato, Orange, strawberry. -> .8 volts

LED – multiple fruits/veggies

2 Lemons, Apple, potato, – > copper zinc x2 and more wires

LED-> reaction= very bright

Notes taken-

-Two different metals are the key.

-Fruit and metals = battery -> you must put a battery in one way (+, -)

-The citrus fruits generate the most charges.

-Adding more fruits increase voltage Two lemons and an apple make .6volts

-If the two wires(metals) touch together it creates a balance. If it was a .5 and it touched it would be a 0

-Using too many wires loses energy because its so long.

-Most affective – > Potato, Lemon x2

IMG_7917 <–video of LED lighting up

After thoughts & Questions-

What is causing the electrons to flow in this experiment?

The wires that are connected to the voltmeter and fruit are creating a flow of electrons. The flow of electrons are moving from the fruit through the wire to the voltmeter through the copper strip and back to the fruit, thus creating the flow. For basically all of the fruits, the copper activated the charge.

What are the independent, dependent and controlled variables in this experiment?

Independent- The independent variable was the piece of fruit.

Dependent-  The dependent variable was the energy that was produced.

Controlled-  The controlled variable was the metals that were attached to the fruits.

How can we modify our experiment to improve our results?

During this experiment, I found that we could improve the amount of voltage using more fruits and create a bigger circuit connecting all the different kinds of fruit and the metals that were provided. I learnt this by doing it with my group when trying to figure out how to light the LED for example. The more fruits we added to together using the metals (copper and zinc), the closer we got to lighting the LED. For example when adding 2 Lemons, Apple, potato,  the reaction of the LED was bright and it lit up but when adding only a lemon for example, there wasn’t enough volts for the LED to turn on. Same thing goes with a potato, an orange, a pear and so many other things; a singular fruit just wouldn’t be enough to light the LED. To explain this in a different way, pretend the fruit and metals together create a battery. When you have something that needs two battery’s to work, for example a light, and you only put in one battery, the light wont turn on but once you add another battery (in our case, another fruit and more wires) the light will turn on with the amount of power its getting.

What could be sources of error or uncertainty in our experiment?

In another case, what my group found was that when adding too many fruits metals than attaching the LED makes it loose the energy. My guess to why this is happening is because we may have too many wires, this may cause us to loose the energy because its too long. Another source of uncertainty would be not making a circuit. For this experiment, the circuit is probably the biggest part, it makes the whole experiment work. Using only one wire would stop the circuit, this would give no result on the voltmeter. Additionally if you were to not add the zinc or the copper and wires to the fruit/veggie, the circuit would not work either because the objects are not connected.

How can I use this in my everyday life?

Just like I mentioned in the previous question, imagine that the fruit and metals are a battery. Imagine you are living you life and suddenly you need two battery’s. You may be wondering why we need these two battery’s instead of just using one; this would be the moment where this lesson could be helpful. When adding two battery’s to the object that needs it, just imagine that the battery’s and the object are the fruits, metals and the LED. Using battery’s are a perfect example of a circuit during daily life.

Conclusion to Purpose-Hypothesis

Purpose: The orange will produce the most electricity

While doing the experiment, I found that the Lemon and Kiwi actually produced the most energy. The small orange gave 35 volts while the Kiwi and Lemon gave .6 volts which basically means .60 volts

Hypothesis: When I attach copper to the orange, a great amount of power will be produced therefore, there will be noticeable energy.

I did in fact find that the copper was a good source of energy throughout this experiment but I didn’t find that it produced such a large amount of power that I thought it would. The orange did give a great amount of energy but I find when adding different fruits together it produced a higher voltage. For example 2 Lemons, 2 pears, apple, potato, Orange, strawberry. -> .8 volts. In closing, yes the copper and orange together did produce a good charge but adding more fruits gave a bigger result.

Conclusion/Thoughts-

After doing this experiment, I learnt many things. Before this experiment I had little to no clue on how circuits really worked. I found that this experiment is important to know considering the amount of things that need circuits to function in the world. Circuits, in short, is very critical to understand how electricity works. When having a circuit, electrons are flowing around the circuit; a flow of charged particles including protons, electrons and ions. I am interested to see what we will do next with this knowledge and the things that I can learn more about, about this topic. For my group, we has problems making the LED light up with a singular fruit; it took some time to figure it but, after some teamwork we found that adding multiple fruit together works like magic. We added multiple fruits because we found that one fruit didn’t have enough energy to light the LED. All and all, this experiment was incredibly interesting and I’m glad to have been there to witness it and learn from it.

## 2 thoughts on “Currents from the Kitchen”

1. Excellent post outlining the learning you gained from creating your own battery with fruit. Glad you were able to light the LED. Your post is thorough and full of depth. Isn’t it interesting what came out as the best electrolyte? It has to do with something called the Van’t Hoff Factor. Consider checking it out if you want to know more. Awesome work! Can I use this post as an example for future students?

1. Thank you, Mr Robinson! I will be sure to check the Van’t Hoff Factor, it sounds very interesting. The experiment was a fun experience and I am glad to have been able to experience it!

I am fine with you using this post as an example, no problem at all.