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Updated March 5, 2007 

BC Science 9 Videos

Does a Pickle Conduct Electricity?

Danger: Do not attempt to connect a pickle to your home circuitry, you could be severely shocked or even killed. This demonstration should be performed only by those who are experienced in working with electrical circuits with high currents.

Will current flow through a pickle? It certainly will. A pickle is saturated with a salty solution. The salt solution is an excellent conductor, so electricity flows through the pickle quite well. When connected to a high voltage, such as household 120 V, enough current will flow through the pickle to make it sizzle and cook, and glow bright yellow:

Some videos are hosted on 3rd party websites. McGraw-Hill Ryerson is not responsible for the content of those websites.

Further Information

Why Does a Pickle Glow Bright Yellow? - the solution inside the tissue of a pickle that conducts electricity is loaded with sodium ions. When sodium ions are energized by electrical current, electron transitions in the energy levels of sodium produce photons of light that appear yellow to our eyes.

For a description of this, consider watching this more in-depth electric pickle demonstration. However, due a film effect, the yellow lights produced by sodium in this video appear slightly reddish:

Some videos are hosted on 3rd party websites. McGraw-Hill Ryerson is not responsible for the content of those websites.

Pickles in Series - with every demonstration, there is always someone who takes things too far! In the following video, 480 volts are applied to a string of 3 pickles, causing a high amount of current to flow through them and making them glow quite brightly:

Some videos are hosted on 3rd party websites. McGraw-Hill Ryerson is not responsible for the content of those websites.

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