Note: Since my battery is simultaneously wet (squeezing it will make it drip electrolytes) and dry (no beakers full of electrolyte), I will just call it "my cell".
In the past, I had experimented with a variety of cells. My best zinc-copper(II) chloride cell obtained a total voltage of 1.6 volts at 80 milliamps. This was after quite a bit of work and previous trials. Magnesium, which I did not have at that time, is more electropositive than zinc, and should create a higher voltage. I soaked a tissue (which did not soak very well) with dilute copper(II) chloride solution and wrapped it around a fat carbon rod from a D size carbon-zinc battery. I then wrapped a NaCl-soaked tissue around the CuCl2 tissue. A piece of magnesium foil was placed on the outside and the whole assembly was twist-tied together. This battery, which hardly took 5 minutes to assemble and had many problems, produced 1.95 volts at 120 milliamps. Magnesium is a better cathode than zinc when cost is not a concern. I could improve this design by:
- Using more concentrated copper(II) chloride solution
- Using material more permeable than tissues (the solutions hardly soaked through)
- Tying the assembly tighter to help more electrons flow
- Sealing the entire assembly in a plastic bag to prevent evaporation.
- Using a more powerful oxidant (from my previous results it seems that iron(III) chloride may work better, could try that)
The battery was able to run a red LED, which drew 3.0 milliamps.
Pictures will be seen later. Look here for more information about electrochemistry and voltaic cells: http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Analytical_Chemistry/Electrochemistry/Voltaic_Cells