Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: How long does a potato battery last?

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
how long does a potato battery last
- brian russell (age 14)
cambridge,ma,u.s.a.
A:
Brian -

How long a potato battery will last depends on a lot of things. First, it will only be "used up" if it's actually hooked up to a wire. If it's not hooked up to a wire, it will theoretically last until the potato goes bad. Also, it depends on how much zinc you have, because the zinc gets used up in the reaction that powers the battery. If you're using a piece of metal that only has a little bit of zinc on it, then it won't last very long at all. But if you use a big, solid piece of zinc, your battery could go for a really long time! It also depends on the potato - some work better than others. If you want to know exactly how long a specific potato will last, the only way to find out for sure is to do an experiment and try it out.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer.