fun with electricity

Having been taught about electrolysis at school, I tried a little experiment at home, which was quite amusing. using the carbon rods from the centre of a couple of dry-cell batteries to provide my electrodes and some salt water as my electrolyte, I made up my own electrolytic cell. A jamjar as a beaker, a cut-out  piece of cardboard as the electrode holder/divider and connector and flex from an old table lamp to supply the juice.

Everything would, perhaps, have been a bit more boring if I had got to A.C. versus D.C. current in my Physics.

As my Dad always said, “a little knowledge is dangerous”.

I may have been ignorant of the potential danger but I wasn’t totally stupid. The flec was plugged into the light socket in the middle of the room, I was poised behind the partly open door, close to the light switch, and my experiment was on the table at the far side of the room.

If the electricity had been provided by a nice little 12volt D.C. car battery, then the outcome should have been a few bubbles of gas but with the use of 240 Volts A.C., the effect was quite exciting. Violent production of gases overcame the lack of sturdyness of my cardboard electrode holders, allowing them to jerk about like the limbs of a victim of the electric chair, with lovely big arc light flashes as the electrodes jerked in and out of contact. Fortunately, I suppose, the experiment was short-lived as the light fuse blew and the experiment ended. I tidied up ignoring the swimming baths smell and all my parents ever knew was that the lights fuse had mysteriously been blown.

Happy Days of youth and stupidity.

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