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Scientists have built a flexible aluminium battery which they say could be a cheap, fast-charging and safe alternative to current designs.

The protoype consists of a soft pouch, containing aluminium for one electrode and a graphite foam for the other - all surrounded by a special liquid salt.

It can recharge in less than a minute and is very safe and durable compared to lithium-ion batteries, but currently only delivers about half the voltage.

The work appears in the journal Nature.

The researchers say it has advantages over lithium-ion batteries, common in electronic devices like smartphones, as well as traditional alkaline batteries.

Other scientists have said the work is exciting but still at a very early stage.

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