The world's first battery
How was the world's first battery constructed?
Warning! Only under adult supervision.
- copper tokens;
- magnesium and steel plates;
- cloth soaked in sodium chloride solution;
- crocodile clips;
- small propeller;
Set two magnesium tokens on a steel plate, then place a piece of cloth soaked in sodium chloride solution and a copper token on each one. Repeat the previous step twice more for each stack (totalling three magnesium tokens, three pieces of cloth, and three copper tokens in each stack), then top the construction off with one last steel plate. Connect crocodile clips to the steel plates – an electric potential of about 4 V appears between them! You can use them to fire up a small propeller, light an LED, and even make a buzzer buzz!
When you close the circuit with the crocodile clips connected to, for example, an LED, the copper and magnesium begin to react with the salt solution. Electric potential arises, and electric current appears, causing the LED to light up! Even just a few metal plates will suffice – magnesium is an extremely reactive metal!
Cool experiments await you in the MEL Chemistry subscription!