Homeschooling with MEL Science: Making Liquid Wires

Liquid Wire
Liquid Wires

Each Tuesday afternoon I get to spend time with my precious Abigail. Usually, we do some chemistry together from MEL Science. Abigail has a monthly subscription (her Christmas present this year). Last week we made Liquid Wires from her third MEL Chemistry box, all about zinc-carbon batteries.

Liquid Wires

Liquid Wires: Preparation

Always, the first thing Abigail does is watch the video for the specific experiment she will be doing, and read all about it from the Liquid Wire experiment page. MEL Science included an informational booklet all about how the zinc-carbon battery works, which Abs read also:

Liquid Wires

Once everything had been read, she set up everything in ‘Ab’s Labs’, donning both her overalls and her goggles:

Liquid Wires

Liquid Wire: Method

Usually wires are made of metals, but in this experiment a non-metal form of carbon (graphite) will be used. This is one of the non-metals which can conduct electricity just like metals.

Abigail measures 3 big spoonful’s of graphite powder into a small pot:

Liquid Wires

She adds 40 drops of liquid glass:

This is what it looks like before stirring:

Using the cotton bud she stirs the mixture until it is blended into a thick paste:

As seen below:

Next, she draws a functioning wire onto the piece of paper:

Making sure there are no gaps in the mixture. The liquid wire begins on one side of the paper and finishes on the other side:

Now, she prepares the batteries by attaching the crocodile clips to the wires coming from the batteries:

The black crocodile clip is attached to the black wire and then to the edge of the graphite liquid wire:

Liquid Wires

The red crocodile clip is attached to the red wires on the battery:

And then to the long leg of the orange LED light:

Abigail then touches the long leg of the LED light to any part on the liquid graphite wire:

Liquid Wire: Results

The light completes the circuit and lights up:

Liquid Wires
Liquid Wires

Liquid Wire: Disposal

Once she has finished, Abs tidies up, disposing any rubbish in the general household waste:

Liquid Wire: Conclusion

Graphite conducts electricity and completes the circuit between the batteries and the LED light. Even though it is a non-metal, it is able to conduct electricity because of its unique layered structure, which allows the free electrons to move around.

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