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!