How is it possible to power a light bulb with a potato?

Answer

A potato helps power a light bulb by acting as both a bridge and a separator for two electrodes made of different metals. The two metals most frequently used are zinc and copper because of their ubiquity and difference in electron affinity. The acid in the potato starts the reaction, and the electrolytes in the potato allow a flow of electrons, an electric current, to flow between the electrodes.

It is important to note that the potato itself is not a source of energy, at least in this case. While it does provide chemicals necessary to get the reaction started, the reaction that produces energy is ultimately between the metals in the two electrodes. However, the metals have a potato between them, and so cannot undergo chemical reactions directly. While metal ions cannot flow through the potato, electrons can. The flow of electrons that results from the chemical reaction is literally an electric current. At least one of the electrodes is gradually worn down by this process, losing mass as solid metal compounds with the potato's chemicals.

The power output of potatoes is very limited, and most light bulbs can be powered only dimly or briefly. With LED lights and a cooked potato, however, scientists have actually achieved impressive results with potato batteries.

Q&A Related to "How is it possible to power a light bulb with..."
1. Stick the end of the nail into the potato. This will start a chemical reaction that will create electrons. 2. Wrap half the copper penny in wire, or use the solid-core copper wire
http://www.ehow.com/how_4843059_light-bulb-work-po...
To make a potato light and good for you, leave the skin on. Instead of covering it with butter, salt, and sour cream you can eat it with a little bit of light salad dressing or margarine
http://www.ask.com/web-answers/Food_and_Drinks/Foo...
I think its the starch in them that does that.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_in_a_potato_that...
Light bulb: Cut the potato in half. Wrap the end of a wire around a galvanized
http://www.chacha.com/question/how-do-you-make-a-p...
1 Additional Answer
Ask.com Answer for: make potato light a bulb
How to Make a Light Bulb Work With a Potato
A potato contains phosphoric acid (H3PO4), which reacts with both copper and zinc. That chemical reaction creates free electrons, and those electrons can flow from one chemical reaction to the other, which is the basis for electrical current. One potato... More »
Difficulty: Moderate
Source: www.ehow.com
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