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How to Make a Voltaic Pile - the World's First Battery


The Voltaic Pile was the world’s first electrical battery that could sustain electrical current to a circuit. Its creation was first published by Alessandro Volta in 1799, although it could have been made as early as several years prior.

The voltaic pile shares many similarities to the common lemon battery. While neither are very useful in today’s world of mass-produced, high efficiency, and rechargeable batteries, the voltaic pile is a great demonstrative tool that teaches circuitry, voltage, parallel and series wiring, chemistry, reactions, and many more very useful concepts. This guide is not meant to be a mere step-by-step guide on how to make a voltaic pile (the actual construction device is fairly straightforward), but rather a guide by which to learn about the concepts at play, and how one might use these concepts to teach others, especially teachers teaching their pupils.

You will need…

- Sheets of copper and zinc
- 7/32 x 1-1/2” Compression Springs
- Table salt
- Water
- Access to a 3D printer and filament
- Wire
- Cardboard, tissue, toilet paper, or any other porous material that can hold liquid”

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