A Photo Showing the Energy Contained in a Single Orange

Photographer Caleb Charland is well known for his projects that mix science and photography. Recently he has been working on photos showing “alternative batteries,” or using things like fruits and coins to power lights. His latest image in that series is the above photo that captures the energy contained in a single orange.

The light seen in the frame is coming from an LED light held at the center of the orange slices. All the electricity comes from the orange itself: the nails inserted into the wedges react with the citric acid within them, and copper wires direct the generated power through the light.

Charland writes that unlike his previous images, he wanted to shoot one that involved only a single piece of fruit:

Recently one Sunday I spent the day at the kitchen table playing with oranges, copper wires and galvanized nails. My hope was that I could make this on going project work with a single piece of fruit. I tried cutting it into slices and wedges but that ever present voice in my head reminded me the SIMPLER IS BETTER. It only seemed logical to use the orange’s natural wedges as the cells for the battery. The wedges are held up-right with an armature of small wooden skewers.

There isn’t much juice — the electrical kind — inside a lone orange. Here’s how dim the light was: Charland had to keep his camera shutter open for 14 hours to capture the photograph seen above!

(via Caleb Charland via Colossal)

Image credit: Photograph by Caleb Charland

  • Spider- Man

    Actually the nail and copper create the energy the juice is an electrolyte, here is a video on the explanation…

  • wickerprints

    I’d call this brilliant, but seeing as how dim the light was, I’ll just call it wonderful.

  • fast eddie

    you missed a great opportunity to meatspin someone

  • Spider- Man

    I support your choice of lifestyle but please don;t push it on others…

  • fast eddie

    I think you mean, “put it in others.” Thanks for the support.

  • Spider- Man

    lol nice

  • Michael

    Its actually not the energy from the orange but from the electrochemical reaction between copper and iron. He could have used salt water instead of the orange, but this wouldn’t look as nice. And he could have chosen another metal instead of iron to get higher voltages.

  • Ben

    That’s a mandarin, not an orange…

  • Kris J Boorman

    Eddie and Spider-Man having a go at each other on a photo forum.

    … Is this real life?

  • quiop

    You should stop trying to be funny immediately.

  • Mark Wheadon

    “There isn’t much juice” — love it — made me grin. Love the image as well; it’s surreal yet real — wonderful.

  • Mark Wheadon

    Suggested caption: “translated from the original mandarin by PetaPixel”?

  • Samantha Gambon

    This is awesome!! I love the mixture of art and science…even though some of the people in the comments are concerned with how it could have been better, and that it’s too dim, I don’t think that makes it any less cool. Specifically using nails and a 14 hour shutter is exactly what makes this picture beautiful–I’m unconvinced that it could possibly be “better”; it is only artistic.

  • Rhyme79

    14 hours! Crikey!