2011-12-03

On Creating a Voltaic Cell

Baron here.  Shame. That's what I feel about how poorly this particular experiment went. The goal was to make a voltaic cell that didn't suck. I failed. Twice actually. The first time I used pop cans. I figured "oh, well these things are made of tin right? *first mistake* I'll just polish them with steel wool *second mistake* then use nails as the other electrode *third mistake*. I guess I should go to the kitchen to try and mix up the most acidic solution I can *fourth mistake*.
 
   
     It turns out pop cans, as you
     probably know, are usually a
     steel-aluminum alloy coated in
     tin. Not surprisingly, not only
     did the steel wool rub off this
     tin, it introduced two new
     types of electrodes (Fe & Al).



This abomination is onion and balsamic vinegar, blended. It smells worse then it looks, and it looks worse then troll blood.

Thought it would be a good idea to grind the rust off the nails first. turns out that was a waste of time too.

0.11 volts Max.        

Later that evening, feeling mildly pleased with myself for actually getting a voltage I though, "lets see what voltage a "spit cell" (a spit soaked wad of paper between two different coins) makes. That's when I felt depressed about my wasted hour, because then I made a voltage of 0.28 in about 20 seconds. This is what I made the next day:
It's 3 voltaic piles, same idea as a spit cell except multiplied a couple times over. This one also took me about an hour, and again I felt depressed that I'd wasted a lot of time because this puppy cranked only 0.5 volts at maximum.  In hind sight, I've learned a lot. And gained a new appreciation for the batteries re-charging on my wall, powering my phone, laptop, electric shaver, wireless headphones, car starter, remotes... it's impressive.

-The Baron



2 comments:

-Survivor or something like it said...

Very interesting. Still not sure what the expected outcome was or what you did but as usual that leads to me being impressed with your scientific bravery!

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