Friday, November 6, 2009

Batteries Built by Viruses

Scientists at MIT are using the M13 virus to build microbatteries. They’ve altered the genetic make-up of the virus by programming it to collect tiny bits of metal on its shell. This “shell” provides the structure for the inside of microscopic-sized batteries!

Using the viruses to construct batteries too small for human hands is fast and cheap. Batteries produced by the M13 bacteria perform as well as batteries built by traditional methods, without toxic chemicals. The minuscule batteries can provide power to tiny electronic devices.

Classroom Connection
State Science Standard – Strand 5: Physical Science
Physical Science affords students the opportunity to increase their understanding of the characteristics of objects and materials they encounter daily. Students gain an understanding of the nature of matter and energy, including their forms, the changes they undergo, and their interactions. By studying objects and the forces that act upon them, students develop an understanding of the fundamental laws of motion, knowledge of the various ways energy is stored in a system, and the processes by which energy is transferred between systems and surroundings.

Students will conduct an experiment to demonstrate how electricity from a battery is used to light a light bulb.
See the activity here.
Read the story here.

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