5E40.20-Voltaic Cell


Video: Watch this demo | Demo #2: Voltaic Cells in Series

Instructor’s video

Description: A voltaic cell is made with copper and zinc electrodes in a salt water


  • Copper and Zinc plates
  • Voltmeter with two banana plugs
  • Class jar with clamps for the plates
  • Salt water (Sulfuric Acid will also work, but there are more risks involved)

Demonstration Procedure:

  1. While wearing gloves, pour the acidic solution into the jar about 1 in high
  2. Place the cover with the anode and cathode back on the jar and display the reading on the voltmeter
  3. Remove the cap again and pour more of the acidic solution into the jar, then return the lid to the jar
  4. Show how the greater surface area being contacted by the acidic solution, results in a greater potential

Concepts: This demo shows the principles behind how batteries function. The electrons flow from the cathode to the anode through the acidic solution, creating an electric potential that can be measured using a voltmeter.