Aluminum-Air Battery: Foiled again!

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Construct a simple battery that's able to power a small light or motor out of foil, salt water, and charcoal. A helpful video, produced by the Exploratorium, guides you along on this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Activated charcoal (available at aquarium supply stores)
  • Spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Salt
  • Small cup
  • Water
  • Two electrical leads with clips on the ends
  • A small electrical device (such as a battery-powered DC motor or holiday light)
  • Masking tape


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions

Informal Categories

  • Electronics


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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