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Comparing dye-sensitized solar cellsFeatured science projectScience project video

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:
- 2 glass plates (30mm x 30mm) – one side must be conductive
-     1 digital multimeter
- 1 ammeter
- 1 small bottle of ethanol
- 1 eye dropper
- Titanium dioxide solution
- Raspberry juice
- 1 pencil
- Iodide solution
- 1 small packet of tissue paper
- 1 small plate
- 2 jumper wires with crocodile clips
- 2 binder clips
- 1 silicon solar cell from an old calculator

Procedure

1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the type of solar cell, a dye-sensitized solar cell or a silicon based solar cell. The dependent variable is the open circuit voltage and short circuit current of the solar cells. This is determined by measuring the voltage and current (amperes). The constants (control variables) are the dimensions of the solar cell, the use of raspberry juice and the amount of sunlight.

2. The dye-sensitized solar cell is assembled as follows :

a. Clean the first glass plate with ethanol. Determine the side of the glass that conducts using the multimeter (set to "ohm"). Apply 2 drops of titanium dioxide on the conductive surface, and spread evenly. Let the titanium dioxide dry overnight on a hot plate.

b. Pour the raspberry juice into a second plate. Place the 1st glass plate into the raspberry juice with the titanium dioxide surface face down. Let it soak for 20 minutes. After that remove the first glass  plate and gently wipe off the excess juice with  tissue paper.

solar cells science fair project

c. Prepare the second glass plate by cleaning it with ethanol. Again, determine the conductive side by using the multimeter. On the conductive surface, use a pencil to coat the surface with a layer of carbon.

d. Place the firstglass plate over the second glass plate so that the carbon surface will meet the titanium dioxide and raspberry juice surface. Let the plates overlap about 5mm and hold them together using the binder clip.

e. Using the dropper, place a few drops of iodide on the overlapping sides and allow the iodide to seep through in between the two glass plates.
 

 dye-sensitized solar cells science project

3. Connect the dye-sensitized solar cell as shown in figure 2 and place it under the sunlight. Measure the open circuit voltage using the voltmeter and short circuit currents using the ammeter. Record the measurements in the table below.

4. Repeat the open circuit voltage and short circuit current measurements using the silicon based solar cell after placing it under that same amount of sunlight. Record the measurements in the table below.

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
90
Time required:
2 days to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Access to your school's science lab is required
Safety concerns:

Handle chemicals with care. Proper laboratory gear/gloves should be worn. Ensure that chemicals are properly disposed of.