What kind of electrodes can I use in a lemon battery?

Dear Instructables community,

recently I stumbled upon this instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/The_micro_Lemon_Battery_reusable_1_hour_of_led_l/
and I immediatly recognised it as a nice way to spend an afternoon. Now here comes the question:
Are there any alternatives for zinc? For instance this instructable:
uses copper and aluminum foil, instead of copper and zinc.

If the previous question is answered with no, then could someone please tell me where I can find zinc? I mean something like: break open this device, there will be some zink in there.

If you feel like it then feel free to explain the principles behind electrochemistry to me. Always happy to learn something new.

Thanks in advance,

Dennis van Rooijen

sort by: active | newest | oldest
GreenwoodF3 years ago

you can use concrete nail or galvanized iron paired with solid copper wire

Standard dry cells have zinc cases.

You can also use galvanized nails. The zinc coating is sufficient for the lemon battery to work.
+1 back. I hadn't thought of that. Are nails really sufficient, or does it turn into a copper -iron battery in short order ?

For a short-term "fun" project, they should last plenty long enough before the zinc is gone, especially if it's the cheap bulk nails with a ton of flashing on them. For a long-term project, I'd definitely go with real zinc strips from a battery.
Kiteman7 years ago
As long as you use two different metals, you will get a voltage.

The further apart they are on this chart (which includes some compounds as well), the better the voltage you will get.