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Nickel-penny composition for voltaic cell

  1. Apr 28, 2010 #1
    I was organizing pennies into categories based on what they were composed of; before 1982 (I believe) pennies were made out of 95% Cu, and after they were made primarily out of zinc. I thought that the ideal penny for a voltaic cell would use a Copper penny, and a Nickel. However, I found that the composition of Nickels is 55% Cu. I care a lot more for this specific project because my physics class has turned it into a competition for highest voltage. I would test these metals myself but I do not own a voltmeter. =(

    Specifically my question is; should I use 95% Copper pennies along with 55% Copper Nickels, or should I use 97.5% Zinc pennies along with 55% Copper Nickels for the highest voltage? Or better yet, are there other cheap and easily found metals that work better than these?

    P.S. What kind of liquid (preferably non-odorous) should I use as an electrolyte?

    P.S.S. My impression is to use zinc pennies and copper nickels, mostly because they are the most different, if this is the case, should I strip the covering off of the Zinc pennies? -unless that's illegal of course-
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  2. jcsd
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