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what is the outer casing of a typical small 9v alkaline battery made of? Is it conductive?

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The cathode end is connected to the outer can of the battery (not the plastic casing but the metal directly under it), it's all one piece that is separated from the anode on the anode end.

There is a metalized plastic film (PVC) over the can which has the battery markings printed on it. This is called the casing and no it is not conductive. If you scratch through the outer plastic casing then you will hit the cathode though.

Alkaline battery Diagram

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  • \$\begingroup\$ what do you mean by metallized? wouldn't that make it conductive? \$\endgroup\$ – minusatwelfth Jan 28 '15 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @minusatwelfth - No, they are not conductive. You can make conductive metal coatings, but they do not do so on batteries. It probably has to do with the extreme thinness of the metal coating. Also, I don't think all batteries have a metalized coating, I think some like Duracell use it to get that classic metallic look to the label. It is also a coating on top of a plastic, so it does not touch the metal can of the battery, so cannot conduct anything to/from the battery. \$\endgroup\$ – I. Wolfe Jan 28 '15 at 20:28
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It's usually steel, covered in a (nonconductive) thin plastic wrap.

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