Graphite Circuits

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Electrons (negatively charged particles) can flow through substances called conductors.

Graphite, used to make pencil lead, among other things, is a conductor and can be used to make a simple circuit on paper. A circuit is just a path for electrical current.

You have to do this experiment with a graphite pencil, rather than the kind you use at school, but you can pick them up at most art supply stores. You’ll also need a few small LED bulbs, 2 wires with alligator clips on either end, and a 9 volt battery.

Adult supervision recommended.

  1. Make a thick, black rectangle using a graphite pencil. We used a #9 graphite crayon.
  2. Hook the two wires up to the battery terminals.
  3. Clip the wire attached to the positive battery terminal to one wire of an LED bulb. (Don’t test it on the battery, or you may blow it out.)

IMG_58434. Touch the un-attached LED wire to the other (left) side of the graphite bar.

IMG_58445.Touch the alligator clip attached to the negative battery terminal to the right side of the graphite bar you drew.

6.If it doesn’t light, switch the positive alligator clip to the other wire of the LED bulb and try it again.

7. Move negative clip closer to the bulb. It should get brighter as you decrease the distance.


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