a battery that works with air and saltwater
science project experiment is a simplified version of the air
battery project available at ScienceProject.com.
and excerpts of information are published here with permission.
Introduction: We all know that the world is now facing an energy crisis and
everyone is trying to do something about that. Now you can show everyone
that electrical energy or
electricity can be made from air and saltwater. After all, both the air
and the saltwater are freely available everywhere. These are the two
things that we have plenty of them.
This may seem impossible. I could not believe it myself the first time that I heard about it.
It almost sounds like a magic trick. Finally, I decided to test it
I tried different concentrations of salt water, different
temperatures, and different electrodes and had no success. It took me a
few months thinking about it until I solved the problem in my mind and
decided to repeat my tests again. This time everything worked fine and I was
able to make enough electricity to light up a small light bulb.
The concept is easy. The same way that you burn wood and make heat
energy, you should be able to burn metals and get electricity (or
electrical energy). The
difference is that you are not really burning any thing; instead, you
are producing a condition for oxidization which by itself is the same as
slow burning. So what you really do is oxidizing iron in saltwater using
the oxygen from the air or any other source. (At least, thatís my
theory at this time)
I donít know if this method of producing electricity is economical
and cost effective. What I know is that it is worth to try. If with one
cup of salt water and some metals I was able to light up a small light
bulb, maybe you can light up the entire building by a tank of salt water
and a few hundred pounds of scrap metal.
No mater what is the results, I am proud that I can make an emergency
battery for myself if I need it.
It took me a long time to make the first working battery using the
salt water; however, you donít have to waste that much time. I have
combined the results of all my experiments and made a recipe for
success. Just follow the instructions and you will get results in the
there are many different combinations of many different materials
that can produce some electricity. Experimenting with saltwater
and air is suggested for the younger students because these are
relatively safer material.
List of materials:
This is the minimum list of material you
need for your experiment.
- Miniature light bulb (low
voltage, low current)
- Miniature base for light bulb
- Pair of insulated solid copper wire
- Pair of alligator clips
- Magnesium Electrode
- Iron Electrode (not
in the picture/ Use steel wool as iron electrode.)
- A cup of saltwater (not
in the picture)
- Screws for the miniature base.
Additional optional materials you may
- A wooden board to mount the
miniature base (light holder)
- Plastic container about 4" x
4" x 4"
- Hydrogen Peroxide
is a good title for my project?
You can call it
"Air battery", "Salt water battery",
"electricity from air" or "electricity from the
- Remove the plastic insulation of
about one inch from both ends of the wires.
- Loosen the screw on both contacts of
the bulb holder. Place one end of the red wire under one screw, make
a loop and then tighten the screw. Place one end of the black wire
under the other screw, make a loop and then tighten the screw.
- Pass the open end of the red wire
through the arm of the red alligator clip and secure it under the
- Pass the open end of the black wire
through the arm of the black alligator clip and secure it under the
- Screw the light bulb on the
- Connect the red alligator clip to
the iron electrode and secure it on one side of the plastic
container or the cup.
- Connect the black alligator clip to
the magnesium electrode and secure it on the opposite side of the
container. (You may need to hold them by hand or use a small tape to
hold them in place on the side of the container.
- In another pitcher, prepare some
strong, warm salt water. Add enough salt so at the end some salt
will be left at the bottom of the pitcher.
- Transfer the salt water from the
pitcher to the container.
- At this time, if all the connections
are secure and the electrodes are large enough, you should get a
How can I get more light?
- Make sure your electrodes are
not touching each other.
- Make sure there is nothing
blocking the space between the electrodes.
- Make sure that the alligator
clips are not touching the salt water.
- Both electrodes must have the
maximum possible surface contact with salt water.
The test tube electrodes (magnesium
electrodes in test tubes) are formed like a spring. This provides the
largest possible surface contact. For Iron electrode you may use steel
wool. Steel wool has a very large surface contact. A steel screen may
work as well.
You may notice that you will get more
light if you stir the solution or if you remove the iron electrode and
insert it back again. Such actions provide oxygen to the surface of the
Note: Steel is about 98% iron.
|The oxygen in the air may not be enough
for your demonstration and you may get a dim light.
In this case you may add some oxygen (in the form of hydrogen
peroxide) to the salt water. That should immediately increase the light.
|A cup is relatively
small. If you have access to a larger container, you will get a
better result. In a larger container, it is easier to secure the
electrodes in two opposite sides so they will not touch each
|Where to buy the
The main components of this
project are available as a set in MiniScience.com online store and
KidsLoveKits.com. This set will only include the essential
components. You must have a plastic container, a wooden board,
some iron and some hydrogen peroxide to complete your material.
This set includes 2 Magnesium
electrodes, insulated wire, light bulb, light base, alligator
clips and screws.
produced in this way may be used to light up a light bulb, an LED
or run a low voltage electric motor.