Electrocute a Pickle

DESCRIPTION:
When electricity is passed through a pickle, it is conducted through Na+ and the Cl ions that are present in the pickle. The electricity excites the electrons to a higher energy state, and when the fall back to ground state they emit a yellow/orange light.

TOPICS COVERED:
light
excited states
color change
smell change
chemical change
energy transformations
charging by conduction

MATERIALS NEEDED:
– pickle
– 2 nails
– electrical tape
– extension cord

PROCEDURE:
1. Attach the nails into either end of the pickle
2. Attach the extension cord to the nails
3. Turn of the lights and plug the extension cord in

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
The pickle can be reused multiple times, as long as it is allowed to ‘recharge’ in pickle juice.

SAFETY:
Be cautious around open wires, and do not touch the nails when they are conducting electricity. Also, do not touch the nails together when inserting them in the pickle.

REFERENCES:
Weimer, P.M; Battino, R. The Incredible “Glowing” Pickle and Onion and Potato and… J. Chem. Educ. 1996, 73 (5), 456.
Silberberg, M.S. Principles of General Chemistry; McGraw-Hill: Boston, 2007; pp 204, 217.

Handout

This lesson plan‘s topic is the Evidences of Chemical Reactions. Students learn the various evidences, then they get a change to practice identifying them with a hands on activity. Electrocute a Pickle is used in the notes portion of this lesson.