Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta

Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta

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Credit: J-L CHARMET/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Italian physicist Count Alessandro Volta (1745- 1827) at work in his laboratory. Volta was the first to show that an electrical current flowed when two dissimilar metals were brought into contact. In 1800 he constructed a device which used this effect to produce a large flow of electricity: the first battery. Bowls of salt solution were connected together by metal strips, each composed of copper at one end & tin or zinc at the other, and a current was produced. A compact version of this, using a stack of discs of copper, zinc & cardboard moistened with salt solution, became known as a "Voltaic pile".

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Keywords: alessandro, battery, invention of, portraits, surname v, volta

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