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How to Assemble a Potato Battery

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1. Into each of three potatoes insert 1 copper and 1 zinc probe. The probes should be inserted to a medium depth inside the potatoes and should be spaced within about an inch of each other. The probes should NOT touch inside or outside of the potato.

IMPORTANT: To illuminate an LED, you must first determine its positive and negative connections. Find the flat spot (indicated by the arrow in the picture at right) along the circular base of the LED. The lead wire that comes from this flat spot area must connect to a negative (-) electrode (which in this case is the zinc probe) and the wire from the rounded area must connect to a positive (+) electrode (which in this case is the copper probe).

Questions for Potato Battery Experiment

1. What metal or metal ion is being oxidized?
2. What metal or metal ion is being reduced?
3. Write the oxidation half reaction.
4. Write the reduction half reaction.
5. Which of the following factors affect the life of your potato battery? Explain your reasoning.
a. the size of the potato
b. the thickness of the metal strips

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