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Republic of the Philippines Commission on Higher Education


The Effectiveness of Vinegar as a Battery

A Science Investigatory Project Presented to the Faculty of

College of Business Administration and Accountancy

In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements in


Balaoro, IkaClarish M. De Lemos, Kimberly Marie C.

Elep, Jennifer Ibale, Alexandra E.

Izar, Janine S.

2BSA-2 A.Y 2014 – 201



The study aspires to set up the effectiveness of vinegar as a battery in order to produce electrical energy for all the devices that needed small amount of electricity.

However, the study wouldn’t be possible without the everlasting love, care and support of the researchers’ family, who let the researchers observe and explore the study and uplifted their confidence in whatever circumstances they had taken.

The researchers would never forget to recognize Mr. Leodigario R. Mendoza, who allocates his time and patience to explain the whole research to the researchers and gives words of encouragement.

Furthermore, the study wouldn’t be successful without these worldwide websites: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and different Science sites. Through them, gathering of facts became convenient and reliable.

Most of all, to God, our almighty Father, the source of all strength and wisdom, for his lasting love and guidance, the study would be accomplished.



According to Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Department of Energy Secretary, unless the government takes bold steps to address the power crisis, the shortage in electricity that has triggered rotating brownouts in Luzon will continue until next year.

Petilla projected that Luzon will face a power shortfall between 400 megawatts and 500 megawatts (MW) by summer next year because of the scheduled maintenance of various power plants. Although there are new power plants being built, he explained that some of them will not be online by 2015, thus, the power demand will be unlikely met.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) restricts the government from venturing into power generation but the Energy secretary also noted that Section 71 of the law allows the President to declare an emergency and ask the House of Representatives and the Senate to come up with a joint resolution that will authorize him to implement some measures to generate more electricity.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Petilla’s suggestion may be an effective way to allow government intervention in terms of adding supply.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgement ………..i


CHAPTER I: The Problem and Its Background Introduction……….1

Background of the Study………. 2

Statement of the Problem………3

Significance of the Study……….4

Scope and Limitation of the Study……….4

Definition of Terms………...5

CHAPTER II: Review of Related Literature and Studies Related Literature………6

Related Studies………9

CHAPTER III: Research Methodology Research Design………14

Subject of the Study………...16

Materials and Procedures……….17

Sources of Data………..18

CHAPTER IV: Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data Presentation of Findings………...19

CHAPTER V: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Summary………. Conclusion……….. Recommendations……….





The world is blessed by the abundance of energy. It comprises various types of energy. One of this is electrical energy or electricity. Electricity is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. This term makes us to remind of that anything that an individual plug into the outlet, an electric current will flow to the device. It is the key component for the modern society everyone has today. Without this, our world is totally different.

People continue to prosper the knowledge of producing electricity. As the result, inventions of electricity-producing products are made.

Since its invention, the battery has become the most common power source for many household and industrial applications. A battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Each cell contains positive terminal, cathode and negative terminal, anode. There are many ways to construct a battery, as well as ways to control its generated output.

Each component is highly needed to produce the expected outcome of the endeavor. It shows that searching new ways of producing electricity is not possible. It’s also impressive to know how vinegar can produce electricity and how it will help the environment. With this research, each individual’s curiosity will be captivated.


Background of the Study

To widen our knowledge about generating new source of electrical energy, the researchers come up with an idea to prove other alternative basis of electricity. They arrived to ascertain the vinegar battery that can generate electricity. The basic principles of positive and negative charges can be demonstrated by making a simple battery like this. This experimental set-up uses the positive and negative ions from the copper and zinc. When the electrodes (copper and zinc) are immersed in vinegar, they draw ions from the vinegar, and the movement of the ions creates an electrical current.

The researchers prioritize not only the discovery of the vinegar battery as an alternative source but also as renewable source of energy. A vinegar battery may not be as strong as other commercial batteries. However, this is cheaper than other batteries. After all, vinegar is freely available anywhere. It is also environmental friendly because it doesn’t contain hazardous and toxic elements. This is something that seems like magic to most people, but is really simple science. This energy if guided correctly can power devices.


Statement of the Problem

General Objective:

The main objective of this study is to show the effectiveness and usefulness of the vinegar battery in producing electrical energy.

Specific Objective:

1. Determine the purpose of vinegar in producing electricity.

2. Find out the connection of each component in the production of electrical energy.

3. Discover the effectiveness of vinegar battery, in terms of: a) Voltage production

b) Number of devices

c) Number of constructed batteries


1. Vinegar forms few ions and does not conduct electricity very well.

2. Vinegar, copper strip and galvanized nails do not complement each other. 3. Overall, vinegar battery is not effective as an alternative source of electrical energy.


Significance of the Study

Nowadays, many scientists are doing several researches to overcome the energy crisis. All of us will experience a great loss about that. People used to be in the world of having electricity. As a result, it would be a dilemma for everybody.

Electrical energy provides us the easiness in doing different things. Everyone use this in everyday life. It is used throughout the world in giving power for every appliance each have. It gives the amusement and swept out the boredom. And also, comfort to an individual who is displeased of something. Because of wanting to satisfy everything easily, people depend to the things they’re used to. They forgot that they have capabilities to make solutions to simple things. This study opens each mind that everyone can make their own way in simplifying problems.

By this, people will have the knowledge on what to do if the time comes. It is very important to obtain an idea for everything.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

The concentration of the study is all about the usefulness and effectiveness of the vinegar battery in forming electrical energy to devices such as digital clock and calculator.


Definition of Terms

Electrical energy

 It is the energy carried by moving electrons in an electric conductor. It cannot be seen, but it is one of our most useful forms of energy because it is relatively easy to transmit and use. All matter consists of atoms, and every atom contains one or more electrons, which are always moving. When electrons are forced along a path in a conducting substance such as a wire, the result is energy called electricity.


 Or a cell that converts chemical energy to electrical energy through positive and negative terminal.


 Produces free ions in solution.

Galvanized nails (Zinc)

 Serves as negative terminal of the battery.





This chapter presents the related literature and studies from foreign or local. Through this, additional information to widen researchers’ idea is observed. Also, it leads as the basis of the study, The Effectiveness of vinegar as a battery.

Related Literature

Invention of Battery

The making of battery was such a phenomenal success after all the different scientists been through. Volta’s experiment and study brought us today the battery. As time goes by, different kinds were made and improved.

It all started in 1780 when Luigi Galvani was dissecting a frog affixed to a brass hook. When he touched its leg with his iron scalpel, the leg twitched. He believed the energy that drove this contraction came from the leg itself, and called it "animal electricity".

However, Alessandro Volta, his friend and fellow scientist, disagreed, believing this phenomenon was caused by two different metals joined together by a moist intermediary. He verified this hypothesis through experiment, and published the results in 1791. In 1800, Volta invented the first true battery, which came to be known as the voltaic pile. The voltaic pile consisted of pairs of copper and zinc discs piled on top of each other,


separated by a layer of cloth or cardboard soaked in brine (i.e., the electrolyte). Unlike the Leyden jar, the voltaic pile produced a continuous and stable current, and lost little charge over time when not in use, though his early models could not produce a voltage strong enough to produce sparks. He experimented with various metals and found that zinc and silver gave the best results.

Volta believed the current was the result of two different materials simply touching each other—an obsolete scientific theory known as contact tension—and not the result of chemical reactions. As a consequence, he regarded the corrosion of the zinc plates as an unrelated flaw that could perhaps be fixed by changing the materials somehow. However, no scientist ever succeeded in preventing this corrosion. In fact, it was observed that the corrosion was faster when a higher current was drawn. This suggested that the corrosion was actually integral to the battery's ability to produce a current. This, in part, led to the rejection of Volta's contact tension theory in favor of electrochemical theory. Volta's illustrations of his Crown of Cups and voltaic pile have extra metal disks, now known to be unnecessary, on both the top and bottom. The figure associated with this section, of the zinc-copper voltaic pile, has the modern design; an indication that ―contacts tension" is not the source of electromotive force for the voltaic pile.

Volta's original pile models had some technical flaws, one of them involving the electrolyte leaking and causing short-circuits due to the weight of


the discs compressing the brine-soaked cloth. A Scotsman named William Cruickshank solved this problem by laying the elements in a box instead of piling them in a stack. This was known as the trough battery. Volta himself invented a variant that consisted of a chain of cups filled with a salt solution, linked together by metallic arcs dipped into the liquid. This was known as the Crown of Cups. These arcs were made of two different metals (e.g., zinc and copper) soldered together. This model also proved to be more efficient than his original piles, though it did not prove as popular.

Another problem with Volta's batteries was short battery life (an hour's worth at best), which was caused by two phenomena. The first was that the current produced electrolyzed the electrolyte solution, resulting in a film of hydrogen bubbles forming on the copper, which steadily increased the internal resistance of the battery (This effect, called polarization, is counteracted in modern cells by additional measures). The other was a phenomenon called local action, wherein minute short-circuits would form around impurities in the zinc, causing the zinc to degrade. The latter problem was solved in 1835 by William Sturgeon, who found that amalgamated zinc, whose surface had been treated with some mercury, didn't suffer from local action.

Despite its flaws, Volta's batteries provided a steadier current than Leyden jars, and made possible many new experiments and discoveries,


such as the first electrolysis of water by Anthony Carlisle and William Nicholson. *Source: Wikipedia

Related Studies

Saltwater Battery

Salt molecules are made of sodium ions and chlorine ions. (An ion is an atom that has an electrical charge because it has either gained or lost an electron.) When you put salt in water, the water molecules pull the sodium and chlorine ions apart so they are floating freely. These ions are what carry electricity through water. *Source: Home Science Tools

A. Copper, zinc, and salt

A different chemistry happens when salt is used instead of acid in the water. Salt breaks up in water to make positive sodium ions and negative chloride ions. These ions reduce the energy needed for water to split into hydroxide ions (OH-) and hydrogen ions H+ (the hydrogen ions quickly find another water molecule and create hydronium ions, H3O+).

At the zinc strip, the zinc ion combines with four hydroxide ions to form one ion of zincates (Zn(OH)42-), leaving two electrons behind on the zinc strip.

The chlorine ions from the salt then combine with the hydronium ions left over when the hydroxide ions were taken away by the zinc, and form hydrochloric acid.


Over on the copper strip, four electrons combine with oxygen dissolved in the water and two molecules of water to form four hydroxide ions. The sodium ions from the salt combine with these hydroxide ions to make sodium hydroxide.

The hydrochloric acid and the sodium hydroxide combine back into salt. So the salt is merely in the picture as a way to move charges through the water. It is not used up.

We can summarize what happens at the zinc strip (called the anode this way:

Zn + 4OH- ⇒ Zn(OH)42- + 2e -4Cl- + 4H2O ⇒ 4HCl + 4OH -Zn(OH)42- ⇒ ZnO + H2O + 2OH

-At the copper strip (called the cathode) we have:

O2 + 2H2O + 4e- ⇒ 4OH-. 4Na+ + 4OH- ⇒ 4NaOH

Now it shows why it is called a zinc-air battery. The oxygen from the air is combining with the zinc. The copper electrode is just there to conduct the electrons, and does not participate in the chemistry. It can be replaced with a carbon rod.


You may notice that after a short while, the oxygen in the battery is used up, and the current (and thus the brightness of the LED) begins to drop. Stirring the salt water helps to put more oxygen in the water, and the LED gets bright again. *Source: Sci-Toys

In this experiment, it proves that solution like Saltwater can carries ions that produce electricity.

Lemon Battery

The citric acid in the lemon provided the electrolyte component. A galvanized nail provided the zinc anode (negative terminal), and a copper penny provided the cathode (positive terminal). *Source: Home School and Things

B. Copper, zinc, and acid

In the case of the copper and zinc strips, the copper holds onto its atoms more strongly than the zinc does. The zinc strip is therefore more negative than the copper strip, and the electrons flow from the zinc to the copper.

When the forces are eventually balanced, the copper strip ends up with more electrons than the zinc strip. The zinc strip now has fewer electrons, and it cannot attract the zinc ions back to the strip.

If the battery just had water in it, not much more would happen. But the Coca-Cola battery has water plus phosphoric acid. The vinegar battery has


water plus acetic acid. An acid is something that has an easily detached hydrogen ion. Hydrogen ions are positive, and the remaining part of the acid becomes negative when it loses the hydrogen ion. In our two batteries, the remaining parts are the phosphate ion and the acetate ion, respectively.

So what happens when those entire positively charged zinc ions bumps into those negatively charged phosphate ions? They phosphate ion is more strongly attracted to the zinc ion than to the hydrogen ion. The positively charged hydrogen ion is attracted to the copper strip, because the copper strip has the extra electrons, and is thus negative (opposite charges attract).

The hydrogen ions attract the electrons from the copper, and become neutral hydrogen atoms. These join up in pairs to become hydrogen molecules, and form bubbles on the copper strip. Eventually the bubbles become big enough to float up to the surface and leave the system entirely.

Now the copper strip no longer has the extra electrons. It attracts more from the zinc strip through the connecting wire, as it did when it first connected the wire.

The copper ions next to the copper strip are not as attracted to the strip as they were before. The hydrogen ions keep taking the electrons that attracted the copper ions. So those ions are free to move through the liquid.


At the zinc strip, zinc ions are being removed, leaving extra electrons. Some of those electrons travel through the wire to the copper strip. But some of them encounter the copper ions that happen to bump into the zinc strip. Those ions grab the electrons, and become copper atoms. We can see those atoms build up on the zinc strip. They look like a black film, because the oxygen in the water combines with the copper to form black copper oxide.

Eventually, all of the zinc is eaten up, and the copper and copper oxide falls into a pile beneath where the zinc strip used to be. The battery is now dead, and no more electrons flow through the wire. If there was not a lot of acid in the water, it may be the first thing to be used up, and the battery may die while there is still some zinc left on the zinc strip. *Source: Sci-Toys

The study about lemon battery as the researchers compares it to vinegar battery are almost the same in terms of its components and its capability to produce ions.




The study developed by the researchers entitled ―Vinegar Battery‖, in accordance to all the related studies, was conducted by knowing the definition of research methodology itself. Research methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied in studying a given phenomenon. These are planned, scientific and designed to test the accuracy of the outcome.

This chapter includes the research design, subject of the study, materials and procedures and sources of data.

Research design

This study used experimental method of research. This method shows the cause-effect nature of relationship between vinegar, copper and zinc. It shows the steps and flow of the process on how the study acquired. It is used to prove if this kind of battery is efficient in producing electricity. And also, the guide of the researchers in preparation of the product had taken.


Fig.3.1 Flowchart of Experimentation




Copper Strip Galvanize d Nail (Zinc) FORMULATION OF DESIGN OUTPUT




In identifying the sources, the researchers chose variables that are consisted of elements that are likely to conduct electrical energy. Vinegar, copper and zinc in galvanized metals are the major components of the device.

The formulation of the design output serves as a direction to guide the researchers on their visualized outcome. Vinegar serves as the source of electrically charged ions. Copper strip and galvanized metal serve as the electrodes. The copper strip or copper acts as the positive terminal and the zinc in galvanized nail will be the positive terminal of the vinegar battery.

The construction of the device is the application of the formulated design output.

Testing the device will prove if the construction is at good structure.

By means of observing the device, the researchers will be able to know the modifications and the developments to be conducted to make the device get better.

Subject of the study

Vinegar is the subject of the study because of its components. It is the solution of acetic acid and water whereas it produces ions which are electrically charged atoms.


Materials and procedures

Here are the lists of materials used in doing the vinegar battery:

 Container/s (P 15)  Vinegar (P 18)  Copper strip/s ( P 30)  Connecting wires  LED bulb  Galvanized nail/s ( P 24)  Alligator clips ( P 24)  Voltmeter

These are the following procedures in order to make it:

For Solo

Prepare all the materials stated above.

Get the container and fill it with vinegar.

Connect one ends of copper strip and galvanized nail to the LED bulb using connecting wires.

Put the copper strip and galvanized nail on the different side of container.

Finally, observe what happens to the LED bulb. To test how much electricity is produced, used the voltmeter by replacing the position of the bulb.


For Series

Prepare all the materials stated above.

Take the two container and fill them with vinegar.

Get the zinc and a copper strip and connect one of the ends of both the strips using a connecting wire.

Put the connected zinc strip in one of the glasses and copper strip in another glass.

. Connect the remaining copper and zinc strip to the LED using two connecting wires.

Then put the copper strip which is connected to the LED in the glass which has zinc strip and LED connected zinc strip in copper containing glass.

Finally, observe what happens to the LED bulb. To test how much electricity is produced, used the voltmeter by replacing the position of the bulb.

Sources of data

The main sources of data in this study came from experiments and observations, related studies and in the worldwide websites.



Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data

This chapter imparts the arrangement of data gathered and the methods used, followed by the discussion of the attempts taken. The findings were related to the research study together with the layout of the product that was described, synthesized and modified.

Voltage Reading

Table1.Voltage production

The Researchers got 1V in each vinegar battery. In a series vinegar battery, there were 6 batteries for a total of 6V (1V X 6)

Presentation of Findings

Table2. Presentation of first attempt

1 Volt per Battery

Total volts = 6 V

(for the constructed series battery)

Device Number of


Number of

Vinegar Battery Results

1. White LED Bulb (From Flash Light)

3.8V 1 No


The Table 2 illustrates the first trial of the solo vinegar battery. The above results determine the effects of the vinegar battery to the device, if it’s effective or not in generating electricity. The finished experiment to the device brought the ―No Effect‖ result.

Device Number of Volts Number of Vinegar Battery Results

1. White LED Bulb

(From Flash Light) 3.8V

3 6

Dim Light Bright Table3. Presentation of second attempt

The table 3 illustrates the second attempt of the researchers to see the capability of the constructed series of vinegar battery. The first 3-Vinegar Battery produced an adequate amount of light. To witness more potential of the vinegar battery, another 3-Vinegar Battery was added, for total of 6-Vinegar Battery. The series vinegar battery produced maximum light that the whit LED bulb could produce.




This chapter presents the review and summarize of the study that was conducted. The review of purpose of the study, restatement of research questions and the research design or methodology is all included in summary. The conclusion specified below is based on the result of research. Furthermore, the recommendation is made for other related studies.


The purpose of this study is to show the effectiveness and usefulness of the vinegar battery in producing electrical energy. This requires the following questions to be answer:

1. Determine the purpose of vinegar in producing electricity.

2. Find out the connection of each component in the production of electrical energy.

3. Discover the effectiveness of vinegar battery, in terms of: a) Voltage production

b) Number of devices

c) Life span of materials used

The researchers used experimental method of research to gather data needed in the study. It helps to manipulate the variables used and able to explain how a certain thing happens.


After the experimentation, researchers examine and evaluate carefully all the findings gathered. Those results are stated below:

 The researchers got 1V in each vinegar battery. In a series vinegar battery, there were 6 batteries for a total of 6V (1V X 6).

 The first trial of the solo vinegar battery results to the device brought the ―No Effect‖ result.

 For the second attempt, the researchers used the first 3-Vinegar Battery that produced an adequate amount of light. Another 3-Vinegar Battery was added, for total of 6-Vinegar Battery. The series vinegar battery produced maximum light that the whit LED bulb could produce.


Base on the findings obtained by the researchers, the following conclusions were drawn:

 Vinegar is an effective alternative source of electricity.

 The copper strips and galvanized nails are important materials in the study. For these contribute in helping vinegar to create electrical energy. When those two immersed in vinegar, they draw ions from the vinegar, and the movement of the ions creates an electrical current.  The life span of the materials (copper strip and galvanized nail)



After gathering data and having assumptions, some recommendations were proposed:

 Make at least 3 or more constructed batteries to produce enough electrical energy.

 Use thicker materials (copper strip and galvanized nail) in order to use vinegar battery for a longer time.

 Try to check first the voltage produced by the vinegar battery to be aware of what device to be used.



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