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A manganese oxide slurry is cast onto a sheet of aluminum foil to serve as the cathode of a prototype structural battery. (Evan Dougherty/Michigan Engineering)

A structural battery prototype incorporates a cartilage-like material to make the batteries highly durable and easy to shape. The idea behind structural batteries is to store energy in structural components like the wing of a drone.

The damage-resistant rechargeable zinc battery can replace the top casings of several commercial drones and can run for more than 100 cycles at 90 percent capacity, withstanding hard impacts without losing voltage or starting a fire.

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