The 13th UTokyo Techno-Science café Report1July 28, 2013


The 13th Techno-science café was held on 28th July. The theme was “The batteries and the future of electric vehicle”. At first, children took a test ride of electric car sold by Mitsubishi Motors. They experienced a smooth ride. Next, Prof. Atsuo Yamada in the department of Chemical System Engineering and Mr. Kenichi Tsutsumi from Mitsubishi Motors talked to children about the frontier of lithium-ion batteries and the development of electric cars. Children were exposed to the academic study and practical application of batteries. 2013年7月28日、「電池と電気自動車の未来」というテーマで第13回東大テクのサイエンスカフェが開催されました。子供達は電気自動車の試乗体験や、リチウムイオン電池開発の研究の最前線と電気自動車開発の講演を通じて、大学での電池の研究と、実社会への応用の両方に触れました。また、身近なものを使ってアルミニウム空気電池を作製し、電池の知識を身をもって学びました。


After the lecture, interactive lecture and experiment by university students started. The theme was “You can be a master of batteries. ~Let’s know hidden chemistry in batteries~”. We, chemical students, put our wishes in this theme. We want children to know that batteries can work with chemical reaction and to have an interest about chemistry.
We discussed how children have fun with learning chemical reactions or mechanisms of batteries. Consequently, we added to the lecture quizzes and eccentric experiments of batteries. For example, “Human-Battery”. In this battery, a man works as electrolyte. Only one man can’t sound an electronic music box, but 4 or 5 men can do it. There was another unique battery we planed to use for quizzes. Juice-battery. Against our will, there was not much difference of voltage between each juice. Sadly, it was rejected.
What bothered us mostly was to what extent of electrochemistry we should teach children. What is chemical reaction? What is electricity? What is chemical potential? To understand electrochemistry, energy is a most important factor. The concept of energy is complicated for children to understand even if they are used to the word. Therefore, not to get children bored, we tried to explain them the law of conservation of energy with quotation of famous cartoon. On the contrary, children are familiar with chemistry.
講演が終わった後、いよいよ学生達による電池の対話形式の講演と実験が始まりました。テーマは「きみも電池マスター 電池にかくされた化学を知ろう」。このテーマには私たち化学系の学生の願いが込められています。それは、化学の力によって電池が動くことを知ってほしい、またそこから化学そのものに興味を持ってほしい、ということです。私たちは子供達がどうしたら飽きずに、電気化学反応や電池のしくみについて学ぶことができるかを検討しました。そこで、電池に関するクイズや、ちょっと変わった電池の実験を講義に加えました。例えば、「人間電池」と呼ばれる電池。これは人が電解液として機能します。1人では電子オルゴールが鳴りませんが、直列にすれば4、5人で電子オルゴールが鳴ります。その他にもジュース電池と呼ばれる電池もクイズにして出題する予定でしたが、ジュースによる電圧値の違いは出ず、あえなく断念しました。


After they learned the chemistry of batteries, it was the time to make an aluminum-carbon battery. Children seemed impressed that a battery can be made by commodity.
We prepared not only a small motor but also a large motor for each group. It doesn’t work at more than 1.0 V. By connecting all the batteries of a group in series, it can work! Physically, with playing, they studied about the batteries.
Some members of this project, including me, major in battery. However, we are not familiar with all of the extent but with limited field of batteries. In this time, we learned further about batteries.
I hope that some children get interest about batteries and they change the situation of energy in the future.
一通り電池に関する知識を学んだ後、子供達が実際にアルミホイルと備長炭を使ってアルミホイル備長炭電池を作りました。身近なもので簡単に電池を作ることができて感動も大きかったようです。子供たちには小さなモーターを渡しましたが、大きなモーターも各班においておきました。こちらは加電圧が1 Vを越えないと回りません。班全員で直列につなぐと、大きなモーターも回りました。電池の知識を身を以て学ぶことができたようです。

川上 麗子(Reiko Kawakami)