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Science Project: Shock Them All! Viewed: 3072
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Shock Them All!

Want to shock your friends? You can do it by re­peating an experiment first done by the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta 200 years ago.

You need:

  • lemon juice
  • 9 1" x 1" strips of paper towel
    (2.5 cm x 2.5 cm)
  • 5 pennies or other copper coins
  • 5 dimes (or any other coin that is not copper)

What to do:

Soak the paper towel strips in the lemon juice. Make a pile of coins, alternating dimes and pennies. Separate each one with a lemon soaked strip of paper towel. Moisten one finger tip on each hand and hold the pile between your fingers.

What happens:

You get a small shock or tingle.

Why:

You have made a wet cell, the forerunner of the battery we buy at the hardware store. The lemon juice, an acid solution, conducts the electricity cre­ated by the separated metals of the two coins. What we call a battery is actually two or more dry cells. In each dry cell, 2 metals (a zinc metal container and a carbon rod) are separated by blot­ting paper soaked in a strong acid.

Be careful not to get the lemon juice or vinegar in your eyes, it will burn.