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HOW

MANY
HOMEMADE
M AT E R I A L S D O E S
I T TA K E T O L I G H T
UP A LIGHTBULB?
MOORE 3.13 ENGINEERING:
M AT E R I A L S / M E C H A N I C S

Q UESTION
What common house hold items can be used to light an L.E.D
lightbulb?

ABSTRACT
We are always provided with information about how technological changes
are making our lives better. Were also given details about how important it
is to conserve energy as much of the sources of our energy in the last 100
years is non-renewable. I was reading articles of how alternate sources of
energy which have not even been discovered will be the solution to nonrenewable energy in the future. I found that common household solutions
can cause chemical reactions which generates energy. One example was
household vinegar powering a battery, so I set out to see if this was a viable
source of energy.

HYPOTHESIS
If I use the right materials, then I will be able to power the light bulb
because the stored electrons will be generated by this arrangement and
the light will light up.

MATERIALS
Materials

Variables

2 glass cups

Independent variable: Zinc and


Copper (Metals)

Copper strips and copper wire


Zinc strips and galvanized
nails
Vinegar
Jumper wires
Alligator clips
LED light bulb

Dependent Variable: Light bulb


Control Group: The vinegar was used
in both cups for the liquids, used the
same cup sizes for the experiment,
used the same cup brand, ordered
my materials from the same online
store, and kept the vinegar at the
same temperature (room temp.)

PROCEDURES
1. Review the materials list and lay out all the materials in an orderly way to
ensure the procedure is accomplished efficiently
2. Connect one of the wire ends to a copper strip and the other to the zinc
strip
3. Fill the 2 containers to be used in the experiment with vinegar
4. Place the copper strip in one of the containers and the zinc strip in the
other container
5. Take the other remaining copper and zinc strips and connect/attach them
to the wire that will connect with the LED light bulb

PROCEDURES CONTINUED
6. Immerse each of the strips (copper and zinc) into one of the containers,
and wires will be outside the containers.
7. Connect each of the wires from the containers to the base and bottom of
the LED.
8. Ensure all the components are set up as required and record the results of
the LED lit or not lit.
9. Write up the experiment and explain how the electricity is created and
works to light the LED.

EXPERIMENTAL PICTURES

The copper and


zinc strips in
vinegar lighting
up the bulb

Two copper strips


and two zinc
strips. Along with
four alligator clips
and a green and
light bulb

A top view of the


circuit

RESULTS
In my experiment, the independent variables, Zinc and Copper metals were a part of the
project which was to chemically react with the vinegar and generate enough electricity
through the electron process and light the LED light bulb. I was in fact able to witness the
LED light when all the variables were used as the process was followed. I used two beakers
filled with vinegar and each had zinc and copper strips connected to each beaker by wire.
The light bulb was connected by one wire on the zinc strip and one on the copper strip
allowed the electrons to conduct the electrons glow the LED. The explanation for this
chemical reaction is realized when the copper and zinc were inserted in the cups, and
vinegar and acidic acid created a chemical reaction. This occurs because the atoms in the
metal are drawn together by electrical attractions. When I placed the metal strip into the
glass of vinegar, the atoms in the metal mixed with the ones on the surface/in the vinegar,
which occurred due to the reaction caused by the metals were attracted to each other.
Because of the migration the molecules took away from the strip and into the vinegar, the
metal strip has a very small negative charge. The metal quickly gets swarmed with lots of
vinegar molecules. It then goes back to its original metal strip and the vinegar discharges
back into the main area. The charge then flows into the electrical wires and the electrons
are able to generate enough electricity to light the small LED.

CONCLUSION
My hypothesis was supported because I was able to light up the light bulb. I
could light up the lightbulb because of the atoms traveling throughout the
vinegar. Once they travel through the vinegar and electrify the copper and
zinc strips, they transform into electrons. Once this happens, they travel
through the wires connected to the strips, and light up the light bulb. One key
part of this experiment was the electrolyte. This helped conduct the flow and
current of the electrons as they traveled through the wires. In conclusion, I
discovered that the best home materials to use to light a bulb for this
experiment was the vinegar, copper and zinc strips.

WORKS CITED

Williamson, Mack. "Vinegar Battery Project." Vinegar Battery Project. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
<http://www.williamsoncentral.org/webpages/mmack/magic_of_electrons.cfm?subpage=1213946>.
Brain, Marshall, William Harris and Robert Lamb. "How Electricity Works" 28 May 2004. HowStuffWorks.com.
<http://science.howstuffworks.com/electricity.htm> 13 September 2015.
Bates, Mary. "MIT School of Engineering." How Does a Battery Work? 1 May 2012. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
<http://engineering.mit.edu/ask/how-does-battery-work>.
"What Is Copper?" WiseGEEK. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. <http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-copper.htm>.
Wojes, Ryan. "Information About the Element Zinc." Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
<http://metals.about.com/od/metalproperties/a/What-Is-Zinc.htm>.
"Automatic Bibliography Maker." BibMe: Free MLA Bibliography & Citation Maker. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
<http://www.bibme.org/mla>.
Rules for All Projects. Student Science. N.p, n.p. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.

<https://student.societyforscience.org/rules-all-projects>.