Viji are odd humanoids, clad in naturally occurring metal armor, that live on mountains. However, while their metal armor should protect them, Lightning striking full plate — what’s the damage to the wearer? makes me significantly concerned about its viability against lightning strikes.

And then I had a crazy idea: what if they were batteries? Voltaic piles are simple batteries, and from the research I've done so far, I believe you just need metal, acid, and salt to create a battery. All of those are in the human body, especially when that human is a Viji. Furthermore, thanks to their mountainous habitat and metal armor, they should be able to develop built-in batteries for additional lightning protection.

Cool. What kind of battery, bro?

Well, the battery is supposed to act as a sort of cushion-cushions absorb force, this is supposed to absorb electrical force-and this cushioning should, preferably, lead to a central core to store this electrical power.

This same biological battery should be able to not only store electrical energy, but be usable as a power source for the Viji possessing this organ (so the Viji can release electrical energy safely). In other words, this battery should be capable of charging up a Viji's plate armor (making it a biological electrical fence wrapped around the body), and to release electricity into the nerves or muscles (so Viji can exercise to burn off excess voltage).

So, my question is: Could Viji Effectively Develop and Use Biological Batteries?


  1. This may look like two questions, but it really isn't: Viji can't feasibly use built-in biological batteries to absorb electrical force unless they develop those biological batteries inside their own bodies. Therefore, in order for this to work, Viji must be able to naturally develop (ie. develop through natural selection) these their own, built-in biological batteries and these batteries must be effective for absorbing electrical force in order to prevent it from reaching vital organs.

  2. I understand that technically, batteries don't store electrical energy, they store chemicals. Capacitors are what actually store electricity, but I'm not sure a biological capacitor is feasible.

  • $\begingroup$ I think I believe Faraday's cage system would protect against lightning, though there might be some work needed to replace the isolant with something more useful than air. If you don't find a positive answer, then perhaps that's another round to make these metal men alive, allliiive! Well, not dead, more accurately }i{. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ Though, note you might overestimate the chance of lightning strikes hitting something, even if it's made of metal. Climate affects thunderstorm chances, as well as the surrounding environment. Also, Lightning takes the easiest path but is "unaware" of where such path is, making each probable hazardous zone relatively short. The worst thunderstorm I lived was in summer, south of France, and while thunder stroke every 5 to 15s, it was in a very wide zone, over 10km (low chance of hitting), and lasted like 30-45 min. [...] $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ [...] But if we were about 6 lightning/min x 30 min x 10% hit chance, we are about at 18 casualties only. It's not a pleasant event in the village, but there are far worse natural disasters. And that's not accounting no one has thought of putting some metal on top of buildings or trees to protect themselves. Or one of their dead comrades, if you're willing to create some weird culture ("Our Ancestors protect us!"). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 1:39

1 Answer 1



See the arc blast part of the accepted answer in the linked question.

Arc Flashes consists of a combination of intense heat (temperatures of ~20,000 Kelvins), radiant energy (from far IR to deep UV), concussive blast caused by the vaporization and rapid expansion (tens of thousands of times) of metal, and rapidly propelled superheated shrapnel (a result of the other factors); taken together, an unmitigated arc flash is easily equivalent to nearly a pound of TNT going off in your face, if not more. This would be the primary damage mode the knight would have to contend with, and could easily destroy significant portions of the knight's armor and gambeson instantaneously, while leaving him contending with the equivalent of a small pipe bomb going off at point blank range.

Even if you handwave the fact that the Faraday effect probably wouldn't allow for this mode of battery charging, the arc blast problem remains. You will have that blast whether the electric charges of the lightning go to the ground or to an internal battery, because it is caused by the passing of charges through the armor in very short time.

And since the blast is not survivable, there would be no evolutionary pressure to develop a battery organ.

  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps intermediate evolutionary pressure would help. I don't know, for instance... they live in a surprising environment with lots of medium to high electricity creatures. Based on what you are telling, that's only part of the problem solved, though... $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ YES! This is exactly the problem I want to deal with for my Viji! The trouble is, though, how to slow down the charges involved to avoid arc blasts? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 22:53

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