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Understanding of electrochemistry

  1. May 9, 2008 #1
    just wondering. i remember once i had a battery, some change, and my keys in my pocket and eventually i reallized the battery got really really hot. just for the heck of it i tried to get that to happen again and it didnt work. can someone explain why this happenned before?

    i tried putting a penny on the - end and connected it to the + end with my keys. and i tried it the other way around too but didnt work. i guess my keys are made of zinc and copper.

    edit: or would this just take a long time? cus i dont feel like sitting there for 2 hours. i was just trying to further my understanding of electrochemistry
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Short circuit is a key word here.
  4. May 9, 2008 #3


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    If you make a connected path of metal between the + and - terminals, that's a short circuit and the battery will heat up noticeably. Probably within a half a minute. If that does not happen, either the connection was broken somewhere or possibly the battery is already dead.
  5. May 9, 2008 #4
    ok i tried it again with a paperclip and it worked in like a few seconds. is it possible to create a fire with a battery and paperclip?
  6. May 9, 2008 #5
    ok i think i just found the answer to that: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1037835/survive_fire_from_a_battery_and_staple/

    thats pretty cool... i guess when u cut open the tape on the - end of hte battery, the middle separating paper separates the anode and cathode? im pretty sure thats y this works
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