Voltage and Current Drop Differences in Zinc and Aluminum-Based Batteries

There have been and will be many emergency situations in which a charge is needed to power a communication device such as a cell phone or radio. Having the knowledge to properly construct working batteries could be the difference between life and death. Inspired by the barrage of hurricanes attacking the Gulf Coast of the Southern United States, the crafted and tested batteries were composed of the same cathode (copper strips) and electrolyte (saltwater). The difference between the batteries was in the element change of the anode, one using zinc strips, and the other using aluminum.

The goal of the experiment conducted was to determine which battery held a current the longest. In order to find this, a total of twenty trials were run (ten using each type of battery). The voltage and resistance were then measured using a voltmeter at the start of the battery and one hour after it had been in use. Furthermore, Ohm’s Law could be used to calculate the current drop over the time period of one hour. From there, the current drop was considered a linear relationship and used as a relative estimation of the battery’s life. The results of the experiment represented that zinc-based batteries did not only have a significantly longer battery life than the aluminum-based batteries, but it also had a much higher voltage. Based on these results, it can be concluded that the zinc-based battery is the most effective option of the two.

Research Conducted By:

Andrew Demmon
Lakeview High School

Aaron Marcus
Fraser High School