Materials: A lemon (Or lemon juice), zinc (Something galvanised, like a nail) & copper (Electrical Wire or water pipe)
Instructions: Stick a piece of zinc and a piece of copper into a lemon and it will produce electrical current. Actually it's the juice of the lemon that does all the work, so a cup of lemon juice instead of a lemon will work more efficiently. This is what's known as a 'Primary cell battery' and will produce approximately 1 - 1.5 Volts. The more the amount of zinc, copper and lemon juice you have, the more current will be available, but if you want a higher Voltage you will have to make 2 cells and connect them in series as shown in the second part of the animation.

This type of battery, as with those in the shops convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The copper and zinc rods are called 'Electrodes'. The lemon juice is called an 'Electrolyte' which is an ionic conductor. One of the electrodes will react, producing electrons, while the other will accept electrons. Hence the electricity or electrons will flow between the copper and zinc but, only if there is a load connected. (The bulb)
A 'Primary cell battery' can NOT be recharged, whilst a 'Secondary cell battery' (As found in cars) can be recharged.
To make a bulb light as we have shown you will need a very low wattage bulb, you will also need to check the voltage rating. If your bulb doesn't glow it is most likely to powerful for the battery, you will have to make your battery bigger or make another one and wire them together.

© Things2make 2002 .... Please visit us again at