How Do Fruit Batteries Power an LED Light?

Diagram of a fruit battery.
••• Wikimedia Commons

An acidic citrus fruit, such as a lemon or a lime, can be converted into a battery by inserting two 2-inch nails — one copper and one galvanized (zinc) — into the fruit. The amount of electrical current is small, but it's enough to power a light-emitting diode (LED).

Preparation

Prepare the fruit for use as a battery by squeezing it gently, without breaking the skin, to release the juices inside it. Insert the nails into the fruit about two inches apart, making sure they do not touch each other to prevent shorting.

Function

A reaction takes place between positively charged ions in the fruit and the zinc metal in the nail, liberating negatively charged particles, called electrons. Electrons travel from the positive pole, or terminal, of the battery through a copper wire — each end of which is connected to the nails with crocodile clips — to the negative pole. The movement of charge generates enough electricity to light the bulb.

LED

An LED is often the bulb of choice in experiments of this kinds; it requires no more than 2.5 to 3 volts and a small current — in the order of thousandths of an amp, or milliamps (mA) — to operate.

Related Articles

How to Use a Multimeter to Test the Electrical Charge...
How to Produce Electricity From an Apple
Can Fruits Make Electricity?
How to Make a Potato Lamp
How to Make Electricity Using an Orange
Batteries Rely on What to Separate Positive & Negative...
How Do Batteries Work? Parts, Types & Terminology (w/...
How to Make Your Own Lime Battery
How to Make a Potato Lightbulb for a Science Project
Lemon Battery Facts
How to Make Electricity for a Science Fair Project...
Polarity Projects Using a Potato
How to Build a Potato-Clock Science Project
How to Use a Multimeter to Test the Electrical Charge...
Science Project on Electricity in a Potato
Electric Science Projects You Can Make at Home for...
How Does a Potato Clock Work?
How to Check a Zener Diode
How Can You Make a Potato Flashlight Project?
Why Do Citrus Fruits Produce Electricity?