How to Make Electricity Using an Orange

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Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits, can be used to generate electrical currents. The acid in these fruits combines with electrodes, such as copper and zinc, to generate electricity. Acting as a battery, these fruits can power small devices such as LED lights and basic digital clocks. Creating an orange battery as a science project is a valuable way for children to gain hands-on experience with how electricity functions.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange
  • Copper nail, 2 inches long
  • Galvanized zinc nail, 2 inches long
  • Small light bulb with a 2-inch lead
  • Electrical tape (optional)
  • Micro Ammeter (optional)
  • Crocodile clips (optional)
  • Squeeze the sides of the orange to loosen the juice inside and prepare it for the experiment.

  • Insert both the copper and galvanized zinc nails into the orange. The nails should be 2 inches away from one another with the tips in the center of the orange.

  • Take a small light bulb and remove the insulation from the leads, or bulb wires, which must be at least 2 inches in length; the bare wires must be exposed. An LED holiday light works well for this purpose.

  • Wrap one of the exposed wires around the galvanized zinc nail that is sticking out of the orange. Secure it with electrical tape if necessary. Repeat with the other end of the wire, wrapping it around the copper nail.

  • Watch as, once the second wire is attached, the orange generates enough electricity to make the small light bulb light up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Measure the amount of electricity being generated by attaching a Micro Ammeter to the orange battery. Attach one terminal to the copper nail and one to the galvanized zinc nail using crocodile clips.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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