Making a battery

Almost any combination of dissimilar metals and a conducting material between them will make a kind of battery. The early batteries were a stack of metal plates and brine-soaked leather pads; the symbol for a battery is a sketch of this device. Let's make one ourselves! Here are the instructions.

Although the final battery is a 2.8 V battery, it will not light a light bulb, because the mustard and paper is not a good enough conductor -- we can't get enough current through it. Adding more layers will make a higher voltage battery, but will also increase the number of layers of paper the current has to go through -- there will never be enough current to make the light bulb work. (Evidently the batteries we buy at the grocery store are much more advanced in technology).

Even when it is not driving an external current, your battery is active. Eventually the washers will get all rusty. So before you go on, disassemble the battery and rinse off and dry the washers. We will use them for something else later.

Check the box when you are done: