Thursday, 18 February 2016

Alessandro Volta Inventor of the Battery

Alessandro VoltaAlessandro Volta invented the electrical battery. Volta's invention is a very significant part of the history that lead to the technology we use today. Modern batteries are more efficient, but use the same principle as Volta's first batteries, or voltaic piles as they became known.

Volta was born on February 18th 1745 in Como Italy. Why not find out more about Volta on the anniversary of his birth. You could even build a battery (tip: you don't need a frog.)

The Voltaic Pile

Voltaic Pile, Tempio Voltiano, Como
After much experimentation Volta came up with the Voltaic pile, a battery which used alternate discs of zinc and copper separated by leather soaked in an electrolyte (such as salty water.)

The standard unit of electrical potential, the Volt, is named after Volta.

We've seen an original voltaic pile at the Royal Institute Faraday Museum in London. Volta gave Michael Faraday a voltaic pile in 1814.

How does a Battery Work?

Luckily Adafruit Circuit Playground have provided a video that explains how a battery works which will appeal to the youngest of scientists:


This video was the inspiration for our how does a lemon battery work article and project when it first came out. 

There's also a Ted-Ed video that explains how batteries work and covers their invention by Volta.

How Did Volta Test His Battery?

Volta tested his battery by giving himself small electric shocks!

Volta the Experimentor

You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong.
Alessandro Volta believed in hands-on experimentation. Volta was active in the scientific community of his time and read the research of others such a Benjamin Franklin and Luigi Galvani.

Volta invented the battery when trying to understand the work of Luigi Galvani who managed to make frog legs twitch when he touched it with a metal instrument. Galvani thought that the electricity came from the frog. Volta thought otherwise and set out to prove it. 

Volta shared his work and enabled others to make further advances with electricity.

Electronics for Kids

Want to help your kids get hands on with electronics? The following reviews will help you find a kit that will suit your family:

Sources: Wikipedia | Famous Scientists

More from Tech Age Kids:


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