Cartilage-Like Material Enables Safe 'Structural Battery' for Drones and Other Vehicles

Structural batteries store energy in structural components, like the wing of a drone or the bumper of an electric vehicle. These batteries could reduce weight and extend range of a vehicle, but they're usually heavy, unsafe, or short-lived. Now, engineers from the University of Michigan have created a damage-resistant and rechargeable structural battery prototype. They demonstrated that the battery could replace the top casings of multiple commercial drones. It's made of a thin sheet of cartilage-like material that is sandwiched between a layer of zinc on top and a layer of manganese oxide underneath. Currently, the prototype cells can run for over 100 cycles at 90 percent capacity, and withstand hard impacts without losing voltage or catching on fire.