How to Build a Clorox Bleach Battery

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Batteries can be constructed using common household materials. It's all a matter of chemistry: When acids are present in a solution, ions are produced. When two dissimilar metals are introduced into the solution, an electric current forms between them, producing electricity. Create a bleach battery the next time you need a science fair project.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic cup
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Clorox bleach (or other household chlorine bleach)
  • Pencil
  • Two 12- to 18-inch pieces of 20-gauge insulated wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Uncoated iron nail
  • Multimeter
  • Fill a plastic or other nonmetallic cup about 2/3 to 3/4 full with tap water. Add the following: 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of household bleach (Clorox Bleach works well).

  • Place a pencil or small dowel rod on the rim of the glass so that it makes a "bridge" that extends over the top of the cup.

  • Take two 12- to 18-inch pieces of insulated wire (20-gauge works well) and use wire strippers to remove about 1 inch of insulation from both ends of the wires.

  • Take one wire and wrap the bare end around the head end of a nail. Wrap the wire around the pencil so that the nail is suspended in the bleach solution.

  • Wrap the second wire onto a strip of aluminum foil. Then wrap the wire around the pencil so that the foil strip is suspended in the bleach solution.

  • Your battery is complete. To measure the voltage output, connect the wire ends to a multimeter. The output will be low, but in some cases, you may be able to power a small device with this battery or a series of interconnected batteries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try different metals in the bleach solution to see what difference you get in electricity output.

References

  • The Complete Handbook of Science Fair Projects; Julianne Blair Bochinski; 2003
  • 55 Easy-to-build Electronic Projects; no author; 1986
  • Photo Credit NLGraphics
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