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Investigatory Project

Members: Aquino, Maria Angelina Luz R. Atilano, Mikaela Alexa C. Sabiniano,GianMenard M. Ting, Joanna Marie O.

A.Y. : 13-14

Date: February 21, 2014 Teacher: Mr. John Mark L. Doria

Alternative Power Source Using Onions (Allium cepa) and Electrolyte Solution Abstract: Despite the fact that the Philippines is a country with a fast rising economy, one cannot hide the more widely known statement the country is still full of problems, the lack of electricity to power all of the nations lands being one of them. Because of that, it is very much important to have a knowledge about alternative power sources in order to lower the difficulty of living in a place with no electricity, especially in a world where one cannot fathom the idea of living in a secluded, powerless area. So the researchers devised an investigatory project based on a YouTube video they have seen depicting a man charging an iPod using Gatorade and an onion. Intrigued about the video and the numerous comments that state that it is just a hoax, the researchers created a hypothesis which states that the experiment will not work. In order to replicate the video, they used exactly what is said in the video, with only the length of time the onion is soaked in the Gatorade solution and the length of the holes punctured in the onion as their independent variables. True to what the comments and articles said, the iPod did not charge, leaving the researchers with a failed experiment, but with a proven hypothesis. Introduction: Electrolyte is a compound that ionizes when dissolved in suitable ionizing solvents, such as water, which provides power or energy. This source of power or energy enables a person or an object to do work. It could, also, aid in converting one type of energy to another needed by the individual or the object. Electrolyte could be found in energy drinks, like Gatorade. Besides that, electrolytes could also be found in some fruits and vegetables, like bananas, berries, potatoes and onions. Speaking of which, onions are used not only for cooking, but also for other good alternatives. The onion is known to contain galvanic cells which usually make a car battery to work. Some batteries use galvanic cells to transfer chemical energy into electric energy. Car batteries use sulfuric acid, but onions contain phosphoric acid, which also works. The acid steadily eats away at the zinc, a chemical reaction that

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

releases spare zinc electrons. These electrons then join with spare hydrogen ions in the acid to create hydrogen gas that helps is the process of transferring the electric energy. It is said from a research that once the onion is soaked in a Gatorade Solution, it could charge an IPod. If you add electrolytes, which could be found in Gatorade, to the Galvanic cells, which is known to be contained in an onion, the electrons will be allowed to move from the cathode to the anode. Chemical reactions will occur involving the transfer of electrons from one atom in the reaction to another. This will now result to the production of electric energy. In Line with this, the researchers thought of using it as their alternative power source. Statement of the Problem: Electricity loss is very unpredictable and an alternative power source is hard to find when in state of emergencies. Hence, the researches would like to discover: Would an onion soaked in the Gatorade solution charge the IPod? If yes, how many tries did it take for the experiment to work? If no, what do you think made the experiment fail? Would the time, money, and effort spent on the experiment be reasonable enough in the production of alternative power source?

Hypothesis: The electronic gadget will not get charged with the Gatorade-soaked onion where the time, money, and effort spent will not be reasonable enough. Significance of the Study: Charging your IPod is a very consumable thing. Our parents even scold us because of consuming such electricity. Sometimes we will just use it for some urgent reasons. We could charge our IPod without consuming any electricity by the use of a Gatorade soaked onion. This kind of experiment will not just save money and electricity; we could also use this in case of emergency, such as electricity loss. Scope and Limitation: The extent of this study is explored on examples of alternative power sources. Further research was made by watching videos on YouTube. A research about the components in onions and energy drinks that could help in transferring the present electrolyte ions was also conducted. Limitations were set to give the researchers some restrictions in doing the procedures. Based on the videos, the researchers also took into consideration if the

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

type of onions used for the experiment is available locally in stores, wherein the researchers used a whole yellow onion instead of the white one. The type of electronic gadget that will be used is different compared to the unit used in the video. The researchers used a 6th generation IPod nano instead of a 4th generation IPod nano. This experiment is limited to the use of onions soaked in Gatorade solution as an alternative power source. Other alternatives may be used to produce electricity. Moreover, the researchers opt to use IPod in conducting the experiment. Results may vary when other types of gadgets will be used. Definition of Terms: Electrolyte- is a compound that ionizes when dissolved in suitable ionizing solvents and water. Solvent - The liquid in which a solute is dissolved to form a solution. Ions -An atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Sulfuric acid-is a highly corrosive strong mineral acid with the molecular formula H2SO4. It is a pungent, colorless to slightly yellow viscous liquid which is soluble in water at all concentrations. Phosphoric acid- refers to a chemical or reagent consisting of phosphoric acids, such as pyrophosphoric acid or triphosphoric acid, but usually orthophosphoric acid. Electrons-is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electriccharge. Galvanic Cell - an electric cell that generates an electromotive force by an irreversible conversion of chemical to electrical energy. Hydrogen Ions - a positively charged atom of hydrogen. Hydrogen Gas - a flammable color less gas that is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe. Zinc - a silvery-white metal that is a constituent of brass and is used for coating (galvanizing). Atom - basic unit of a chemical element; particle as a source of nuclear energy Cathode - the negatively charged electrode in a vacuum; it is where cations are drawn. Anode - the positively charged electrode in a vacuum; it is where anions are drawn.

Review of Related Literature:

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

Source:"How to Charge an iPod using electrolytes and an onion." Household Hacker YouTube channel. Nov. 10, 2007. (July 22,2008)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfPJeDssBOM It shows how the electric ions were successfully transferred from the soaked onion to the IPod through the use of a USB cable. THE POSSIBILITIES The hottest viral video of the week on the use of onion-soaked-in-Gatoradesolution was posted by a guy who calls himself "Household Hacker" and purportedly demonstrates how you can charge an iPod by plugging its USB cable into a Gatoradesoaked onion. Apart from stating that the power is produced "using electrolytes derived from Gatorade or Powerade which are then stored within the cells of an onion, Mr. Hacker offers no coherent explanation for how this might work. Various folks who've tried it say it flat-out does not (Emery, 2007). Simple, low-power batteries can be made using common household ingredients such as a lemon, a copper coin, and a galvanized nail. When the two metals (electrodes) are inserted into the lemon, the acidic juice (electrolyte) facilitates the release of electrons which are conducted from one electrode to the other, forming a very weak current. Several lemon batteries hooked up in series can produce enough electricity to light a small LED (Emery, 2007). As everyone knows, Gatorade contains electrolytes in the form of sodium, but Emery (2007) questions whether the concentration is high enough to produce the

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

requisite conductivity, let alone enough current to power an iPod. Furthermore, unless Emery (2007) mistaken the contacts inside a USB connector are all made of the same metal, copper, so no electrochemical reaction would occur and no current would be produced in the first place. ENERGY IN BATTERIES Imagine a world where everything that used electricity had to be plugged in. Flashlights, hearing aids, cell phones and other portable devices would be tethered to electrical outlets, rendering them awkward and cumbersome. Cars couldn't be started with the simple turn of a key; a strenuous cranking would be required to get the pistons moving. Wires would be strung everywhere, creating a safety hazard and an unsightly mess. Thankfully, batteries provide us with a mobile source of power that makes many modern conveniences possible (Brain, Bryant and Pumphrey, 2000). While there are many different types of batteries, the basic concept by which they function remains the same. When a device is connected to a battery, a reaction occurs that produces electrical energy. This is known as an electrochemical reaction. Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta first discovered this process in 1799 when he created a simple battery from metal plates and brine-soaked cardboard or paper. Since then, scientists have greatly improved upon Volta's original design to create batteries made from a variety of materials that come in a multitude of sizes (Brain, Bryant and Pumphrey, 2000). Today, batteries are all around us. They power our wristwatches for months at a time. They keep our alarm clocks and telephones working, even if the electricity goes out. They run our smoke detectors, electric razors, power drills, mp3 players, thermostats -- and the list goes on. If you're reading this article on your laptop or smartphone, you may even be using batteries right now! However, because these portable power packs are so prevalent, it's very easy to take them for granted. This article will give you a greater appreciation for batteries by exploring their history, as well as the basic parts, reactions and processes that make them work. So cut that cord and click through our informative guide to charge up your knowledge of batteries (Brain, Bryant and Pumphrey, 2000). The article articulates about the discovery of Battery and its application in our daily life. The article states the benefits of the Battery, which serves as an alternative portable power source for small devices. This article supports the researchers project, which is also an alternative power source, only which is made from an onion and Gatorade solution and it only charges the IPod. VEGETABLES AS SOURCE OF ENERGY

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

There are many types of batteries, ranging from tiny watch and hearing aid batteries that are just a few millimeters wide, to the normal AA batteries you use in many household electronic devices, to the large batteries you find under the hood of a car. Did you know that you can also use a potato as a battery? That might sound weird, but believe it or not, you can actually use a potato as an electrical battery to power small devices. To understand how, first you will need to learn a little more about batteries (Science Buddies, 2007). Batteries are containers that store energy, which can be used to make electricity. This method of storing energy allows us to make portable electronic devices (imagine what a pain it would be if everything had to be plugged into a wall outlet to work!). There are many different types of batteries, but they all depend on some sort of chemical reaction to generate electricity. The chemical reaction typically occurs between two pieces of metal, called electrodes, and a liquid or paste, called an electrolyte. It turns out that the moisture inside a potato works pretty well as an electrolyte, so you just need to add some metal electrodes to a potato, and you have a battery! (Science Buddies, 2007) Next, you need to understand some basic concepts about electricity. The flow of electricity is called an electrical current, which is measured in a unit called amperes (also called amps for short). The symbol for amperes is A. A common analogy used for electrical current is to imagine water flowing through a pipe. The faster the water flows, the more "current" there is (Science Buddies, 2007). Electrical current cannot just flow on its own; it needs something to "push" it. Voltage (also referred to as electric potential) is what pushes electrical current through wires. Voltage is measured in volts, and the symbol for volts is V. Using the water analogy, voltage is like the pressure that pushes the water. Higher pressure will push the water faster, generating more current (Science Buddies, 2007). Finally, electrical resistance resists the flow of current, making it harder for electricity to flow. Resistance is measured in ohms, and the symbol for ohms is . As resistance increases, it takes more voltage to push the same amount of current. Think of resistance like a pipe that is clogged with debris; the more clogged the pipe is, the harder it will be to push water through (Science Buddies, 2007). An electrical circuit is like a path through which the electricity can flow. Circuits can be very complex, with millions and millions of components (like the ones inside your computer), or very simple, with just two components, like a battery and a light bulb. This science project will focus on simple battery-powered circuits. In general, a battery supplies a certain voltage to a circuit. How much current is drawn out of the battery depends on the load, or what the battery is connected to (Science Buddies, 2007).

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

Batteries have positive and negative terminals. In order for electricity to flow in a battery-powered circuit, there must be a complete path from the positive terminal to the negative terminal. This is called a closed circuit. If the path is broken, electricity cannot flow. This is called an open circuit. Figure 1 shows closed and open circuits in a simple circuit with a light bulb attached to a battery (Science Buddies, 2007). Electricity likes to take the "path of least resistance" (just like water). The light bulb in Figure 1 has a much higher resistance than the wires; the wires by themselves have a very low resistance. So, if possible, the electricity would prefer to just flow through wires, and avoid the light bulb altogether (remember the "clogged pipe" analogy; water would rather flow through an empty pipe than through a clogged pipe). So, if a wire is put in the wrong place, this could create a short circuit, as shown in Figure 2. A short circuit can be very dangerous; it can result in a large amount of current being drawn from the battery, which can result in the battery overheating and even exploding! Luckily, vegetable batteries only supply a very small amount of current, so they are safer to work with (Science Buddies, 2007). What about circuits that have more than just a single battery? You have probably used many devices that require two or more batteries, like toys or remote controls. Multiple batteries can be connected two different ways: in series or in parallel. When multiple batteries are connected in series, the positive terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the next battery (and this repeats if there are more than two batteries). When batteries are connected in parallel, all of the positive battery terminals are connected together, and all of the negative battery terminals are connected together (Science Buddies, 2007). So why would you choose one method over the other? The amount of voltage and current that can be supplied by multiple batteries changes depending on whether you connect them in series or in parallel, and certain electronic devices might require a certain amount of voltage or current. For example, have you ever noticed how a small device like a TV remote or computer mouse might only require two AAA batteries, but a larger toy or flashlight might require four or more AA batteries? This is because each device has different electrical requirements to operate properly (Science Buddies, 2007). The article is a guide on how to create a battery out of potatoes, which is a somewhat similar experiment to the researchers project. The potato, with the use of zinc and one copper electrode, will able to produce enough electricity to light up a LED light bulb.. Multiple potatoes may be used to create a larger circuit. The article also suggests experimenting with other fruits and vegetables, with onion as one of the suggested product.

Investigatory Project
Research Methodology:

A.Y. : 13-14

The researchers considered a number of studies, as well as videos, about alternative power sources. They searched for the procedures and materials needed for the experiment. Studies show that materials, such as 3 large yellow onions for the three trials, 2 cups of Gatorade, 1 screw driver, 1 USB cable and an IPod nano, are needed to conduct the experiment. The following are the steps needed to conduct the experiment:

Procedures: 1. Use the screwdriver to poke a hole into one side of the onion all the way to the middle, twirl the onion around and repeat the process on the side. This will allow liquid to travel through the onion 2. Place the onion in the electrolyte drink. Make sure the two holes are submerged. Let the onion soak for about 30 minutes. It will start to soak up some of the drink and will sink to the bottom. It will likely absorb half of the fluid at that time. 3. Take the onion out of the fluid and dry the outside with a towel cloth. You want to get all of the excess fluid. Place the onion on a support (like a shot glass). 4. Firmly press the USB end of the adapter into top of the onion. It will take a couple of seconds for the power to travel through the cable, but the IPod or cell phone should power up within a few seconds. The IPod/cell phone will begin charging, and will continue for roughly 15 to 20 minutes while plugged into the electrolyte soaked onion. Source: "How to Charge an iPod using electrolytes and an onion." Household Hacker YouTube channel. Nov. 10, 2007. (July 22, 2008)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfPJeDssBOM

Investigatory Project
Schematic Diagram:

A.Y. : 13-14

Data and Results: Number of trials with conditions: 1st Trial (the onion is poked on two parallel sides to the center and is soaked in the Gatorade solution for 30 minutes only) 2nd Trial(the onion is poked on two parallel sides to the center and is soaked in the same Gatorade solution for an hour) 3rd Trial (the onion is poked all the way through the other side and is still soaked in the same Gatorade solution for an hour) Results: The IPod did not charge.

The IPod did not charge.

The IPod did not charge.

On the first trial, the onion was poked on two separate holes on each side, and soaked on the Gatorade solution for 30 minutes only. After, the USB chargerof the iPod was punched in the onion and the researchers waited for the result. After several seconds, there was no response from the iPod. They decided to cut the onion in half and stick the USB charger in it again, but still got the same results.

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

On the second trial, a new onion was poked once again on two separate holes on each side of the onion, but soaked in the same Gatorade solution for, now, an hour. Then, the researchers poked the USB charger on the onion and waited for the iPod to charge for several seconds. After getting the same results as the first trial, they cut the onion in half again and stick the USB charger on it, where they received no response from the iPod. On the third trial, the researchers tried to poke the hole directly through the new onion and soaked in the Gatorade for an hour. After, the USB cable was directly poked on the onion and waited for a few seconds to start charging but, unfortunately, the researchers received no response. They tried cutting the onion in half again in hope of having a response from the IPod but, sadly, the IPod still remained uncharged by the onion.

Summary: The researchers planned to do an experiment wherein they will be using an onion as an alternative for certain power sources. They used the onion as a charger for the IPod to prove that electrons can or cannot be transmitted through the onion. The electrons that are needed to prove this will come from an artificial power drink. In this case they used Gatorade as an electron source. Conclusion: The experiment that they conducted had failed, but successfully proved their hypothesis. The result implies that the experiment between the onion and the Gatorade didnt work as an alternative power to charge the IPod. The possible errors, that could have been the cause of its failure, are the hollowness of the holes applied to the onion, the absorption of the energy drink and the transmission of the electrons. There might be a lot of possible reasons why the experiment did not work, but plausible reasons might come from the procedures itself. Since the application of the holes, soaking of the onion in the Gatorade and plugging of the USB cable to the device from the onion are stated, the factors of its possible success might come from those said ideas. In terms of the said problem about the hollowness of the holes and its relation to the outcome of the onion charger, the hole may be a reason for the easy absorption and also the easy extraction of the electrolyte solution which in our case is the Gatorade power drink. The holes of the onion could either be too hollow or too narrow. The time allotment for the soaking of the onion in the Gatorade might be too short or too long, which might have made the onion absorb too much Gatorade. Also, the electrons might not have passed through the USB cable correctly, which resulted in the failure of transmission of the electrons. Based on the results, the researchers were able to derive the answer to their second problem. The money, time and effort spent on the experiment is still, somehow,

Investigatory Project

A.Y. : 13-14

reasonable because they were able to prove that the proposed experiment does not work. Therefore, the researchers conclude that the viral video on the internet does not make the experiment credible enough to be of great use as an alternative power source. Hence, the researchers have met their hypothesis that the gadget will not get charged with electricity. Recommendation: The researchers recommend to the people who would like to try to recreate the experiment that they should research more about the chemical properties of the variables. Other fruits or vegetables may also be considered. Hence, other processes in producing electricity out of these elements must be looked into with deeper understanding. The researchers would also like to encourage future studies to include more affordable and accessible ingredients to make the product truly serve as an alternative power source. Bibliography:

"How to Charge an iPod using electrolytes and an onion." Household Hacker YouTube channel. Nov. 10, 2007. (July 22, 2008)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfPJeDssBOM Emery, David. "Charge your iPod with Gatorade and an Onion?" David Emery's Urban Legends Blog. Nov. 27, 2007. (July 22, 2008)http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2007/11/27/charge-your-ipod-with-gatoradeand-an-onion.htm Brain, Marshall and Charles W. Bryant. "How Batteries Work." HowStuffWorks.com. April 1, 2000. (July 22, 2008)http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/battery.htm Sander, Craig. "Veggie Power! Making Batteries from Fruits and Vegetables." Science Buddies. May 1, 2007. (July 22, 2008) http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fairprojec ts/project_ideas/Elec_p029.shtml