Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 | Author:

voltaic pileElectricity is such an indespensable part of our lives, IDT Energy believes people should know a little history and information about this ever-present force in our lives.

Alessandro Volta created the first battery in the year 1800. His design was as simple as it was brilliant. Known as a “voltaic pile,” Volta built a stack using alternating layers of zinc, blotting paper soaked in salt water, and silver. Care must be taken so that the top and bottom of the piles are different metals. A voltage can be measured from the pile, as well as a current, by attaching a wire to the top and bottom of the pile. The higher the pile created will produce a larger voltage, increasing by a fixed amount with each additional layer.

From the time of the voltaic pile’s invention until the development of electrical generators in the Daniel cell1870s, a cousin of the voltaic pile, known as the Daniel cell, Crowfoot cell, Gravity cell and Wet cell, was used for operating telegraph machines and doorbells, and it was very common. The Daniel cell consists of two plates, one of them zinc and the other copper, inside a glass jar which has a solution of zinc sulfate on top and copper sulfate on the bottom.  This is a good experiment for a school project, and for stationary uses of electricity a Daniel cell is a good solution.

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