Build Your Own Battery

Be a Battery Researcher

Argonne scientists and engineers are working together to develop the next generation of cheaper, more powerful batteries. In this activity, you will build a homemade battery and experiment with different materials to optimize your battery—just like Argonne researchers.

From toys and equipment to cars and renewable energy, batteries are everywhere! Batteries have come a long way since Alessandro Volta made the first true battery in 1800. Overtime batteries have advanced with technology and evolved for our ever-changing needs. Batteries come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. A basic battery has two different metal electrodes (a “positive” end and “negative” end), an electrolyte solution, and a separator or “membrane”. The electrolyte solution in a basic battery is the liquid, gel, or paste that allows electrical charge to flow between a negatively charged metal and a positively charged metal in a battery. The separator is a membrane keeps the two metals from touching so that the battery doesn’t short-circuit!

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Age: 10 - 100