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In the Iron Man 2 movie Tony is being poisoned by the Paladium Arc Reactor in his chest. It is also said that using it to power the Iron Man suit is poisoning him faster. He also was able to make other Arc Reactors for the spare/other suits.

So why couldn't and didn't he just make a non-toxic battery for his heart, which WAS being powered by a car battery, and use a Arc Reactor in the suit and not his chest? That would have ended his need to poison himself.

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    He wanted to keep the arc reactor technology close at hand, if memory serves. Later he has a change of heart(!) – Valorum May 6 '18 at 7:37
  • He did want to keep his poisoning secret both from pepper and the public perhaps a car battery wasn't the best for that? He's also is way too cocky for his own good – Ummdustry May 6 '18 at 12:38
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Pure Speculation Follows

By Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is using the Arc Reactor not just to keep the shrapnel out of his heart, but to power Iron Man and, by his own lights, to protect the world:

Tony Stark: The point is you're welcome, I guess.

Senator Stern: For what?

Tony Stark: Because I'm your nuclear deterrent. It's working. We're safe. America is secure. You want my property? You can't have it. But I did you a big favor.

[stands and turns to face the Senate]

Tony Stark: I've successfully privatized world peace. What more do you want? For now! I tried to play ball with these ass-clowns.

For Tony to trade in the Arc Reactor for a battery would keep him alive, but would destroy both the Pax Ferrei and (more importantly) Stark's reputation for brilliance and blatant disregard for consequences. The mythos of "Iron Man" would be damaged.

Is Tony Stark so prideful that he would rather die than look like his brilliance had failed? Given his behavior throughout the movies.... yes.

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    This entire point is pure speculation, since I never saw anything in the movies to explain this (I think) I think I understand what you are saying, but simple survival, I think, would have shown him the wisdom of having a non-poisoning power source IN his chest and an arc reactor in his suit NOT poisoning him. I get that he is hard headed, but it stretched credulity that he would be stubborn enough to poison himself. he could make it LOOK like an arc reactor in his chest of he wanted to, also. – HeroJunkie May 7 '18 at 17:12
  • I always assumed it was due to the fact that electric magnets need a ridiculous amount of power to keep functioning and as such he wouldn't be able to keep the reactor working long enough with batteries or be able to use the suits. But that was my takeaway. – MotherOrganoid May 28 '18 at 20:35

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