NEW ZEALAND TARANAKI

A Rechargable Lead/Acid Cell

The cell you will make should generate about 1.5 volts.


Please read the important reminder below!

To produce 12 volts we could connect 8 cells together to produce a battery.

We would then have a rechargable lead-acid battery similar to those used in a car or used to store electricity produced by a solar cell.

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As a matter of fact, we will need some acid from an old car battery to start with.

CAUTION: acids are dangerous. Always get the help of an adult to do this.

  • Fill a glass jar half full of dilute sulfuric acid.
  • Hang two lead fishing sinkers (or lead strips) from copper wire
  • Attach the two wires to a source of direct current (6 volt lantern battery or a battery charger)

One lead strip or sinker will start to turn brown. This is because the electricity you are using to charge the cell is turning it into lead oxide. We will soon have a coating of lead oxide.

We now have two different materials in the acid, lead and lead oxide.

Once charged for an hour or two, you should be able to connect the ends of the copper wires to a 1.5 volt torch bulb to light it up!


IMPORTANT REMINDER....

  • Take care when using chemicals and electricity.
  • ALWAYS ASK AN ADULT FOR HELP WHEN CARRYING OUT THIS EXPERIMENT.

Try this...

 

  1. PREDICT: Ask your students "If you charge the cell for 1/2 an hour, how long will it light a bulb for"
  2. OBSERVE: Let the students charge the cell and time how long a bulb shines.
  3. EXPLAIN: What does this show us? (seniors might like to consider the chemical reaction involved)

FIND OUT MORE:

  1. There are other ways to generate electricity. Build your own electrical generator here...
  2. Build sensors to detect current, voltage, conductivity, etc, using a digital multimeter
  3. FInd out how to tap into fruits and vegetables here...
  4. Use an salt dough cell to power your own toys and cyberpets
  5. The interactive pages...identify these pieces of lab equipment
  6. The interactive pages...weird metals and gases hide in this Periodic Table
 

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