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Published on 30 Oct 2012 | over 4 years ago

Is there energy hidden inside your pocket change? Convert pennies into make-shift batteries that can drive small current devices like LED's and calculators.

Many people have asked how long the green LED stayed on. Surprisingly, it was bright for 2-1/2 weeks before finally fizzling out!

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Project Inspired By: Julie Yu http://www.exo.net/~jyu/activities/penny%20battery.pdf

WARNING: Use of this video content is at your own risk.

Project History & More Info:
LEGALITIES: Some people have asked about the legality of treating pennies in this manner. The federal law states that there are exceptions made for use as "educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment make it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins." For more information, see: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2007/04/16/E7-7088/prohibition-on-the-exportation-melting-or-treatment-of-5-cent-and-one-cent-coins

This is a wet-cell battery. Pennies newer than 1982 are nearly 98% Zinc.

The redox reaction between the copper and zinc metals allow electrons to flow and each cell provides around 0.6 volts of electric potential.

Here is how to light up an LED and power a calculator using some loose pocket change!

I found this link that helps explain the reaction and why it works: http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~cchieh/cact/c123/battery.html

Basically, a galvanic cell consists of at least two half cells, a reduction cell and an oxidation cell. Chemical reactions in the two half cells provide the electrons for the galvanic cell operations. Copper ions gain electrons (reduced) while zinc ions give them up (oxidized). = (redox)

An electrolyte like salt water or vinegar helps get the metals into ions. Electrons flow through the electric conductors connecting the electrodes, as ions flow through the salt bridge.

The overall reaction of the galvanic cell is: Zn + Cu2+ = Zn2+ + Cu

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