What Are the Strongest & Hardest Metals Known to Mankind? - Owlcation - Education
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What Are the Strongest & Hardest Metals Known to Mankind?

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Anyone can Google to find a quick answer. But sometimes, the simplest answer isn't the smartest. JK enjoys big questions and interrogations.

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Which Metal Is the Strongest?

You're probably looking for a simple numbered list of strong metals here, rated from strongest to weakest. Unfortunately, you're not going to get an answer so easily. First, we need to determine what kind of strength we're talking about.

When it comes to metals, strength can be defined in four different ways.

Four Different Types of Strength

Strength TypeDescription

Compressive Strength

A material's capacity to withstand compaction or size reduction, or how much resistance it has to being squeezed together.

Tensile Strength

How strongly a material resists tension or a measure of how much strength it takes to stretch it or pull it apart.

Yield Strength

How well a material resists deformation or how much strength it takes to bend it.

Impact Strength

A material's ability to resist sudden force or impact without breaking or shattering.

What Is the Strongest Metal in the World?

Steel and alloys top the list for overall strength. Steels, alloys of iron, and other metals are much harder than any one type alone. The following are the strongest metals in the world:

  • Carbon Steels have a carbon content up to 2.1 percent by weight, a yield strength of 260 megapascals (MPa), and a tensile strength of 580 MPa. They score about 6 on the Mohs scale and are extremely impact-resistant.
  • Maraging Steels are made with 15-25 percent nickel and other elements (like cobalt, titanium, molybdenum, and aluminum) and a low carbon content. They have a yield strength of between 1400 and 2400 MPa.
  • Stainless Steel, with yield strength of up to 1,560 MPa and a tensile strength of up to 1,600 MPa, is made with a minimum of 11 percent chromium and often combined with nickel to resist corrosion.
  • Tool steels (used to make tools) are alloyed with cobalt and tungsten.
  • Inconel (a superalloy of austenite, nickel, and chromium) can endure extreme conditions and high temperatures.

What Is the Strongest Non-Alloy Metal in the World?

While the aforementioned alloys can be considered the strongest metals in the world, the following metals are the strongest pure, non-alloy, metals:

  • Tungsten has the highest tensile strength of any natural metal, but it's brittle and tends to shatter on impact.
  • Titanium has a tensile strength of 63,000 PSI. Its tensile-strength-to-density ratio is higher than any natural metal, even tungsten, but it scores lower on the Mohs scale of hardness. It is also extraordinarily resistant to corrosion.
  • Chromium, on the Mohs scale for hardness, is the hardest metal around. It scores 9.0, but it's extremely brittle. So unless it's combined with other metals, it isn't very useful if you need yield and tensile strength.

How Is Hardness Measured?

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness, created in 1812 by German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, is used to rate a mineral's scratch resistance. The method of comparing hardness by seeing which minerals can visibly scratch others is, however, of great antiquity. While greatly facilitating the identification of minerals in the field, the Mohs scale does not show how well hard materials perform in an industrial setting. Despite its lack of precision, the Mohs scale is highly relevant for field geologists who use the scale to roughly identify minerals using scratch kits.

The Vickers Hardness Scale

The Vickers hardness test was developed in 1921 by Robert L. Smith and George E. Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials. The basic principle, as with all common measures of hardness, is to observe the questioned material's ability to resist plastic deformation from a standard source. The Vickers test can be used for all metals and has one of the widest scales among hardness tests. The unit of hardness given by the test is known as the Vickers Pyramid Number (HV) or Diamond Pyramid Hardness (DPH). The hardness number can be converted into units of pascals, but should not be confused with pressure, which uses the same units. The hardness number is determined by the load over the surface area of the indentation, and not the area normal to the force, and is therefore not pressure.

What Type of Metal Is Stronger Than Titanium?

While titanium is one of the strongest pure metals, steel alloys are stronger. This is because a combination of metals is always stronger than a single metal. Carbon steel, for example, combines the strength of steel with the resilience of carbon. Alloys are essentially super metals.

What Is the Strongest and Lightest Metal in the World?

In 2015, Australian and Chinese researchers discovered a Magnesium alloy that is widely considered to be the strongest and lightest metal in the world. It is also highly resistant to corrosion, making it a useful material for vehicle manufacturing.

Recently, magnesium alloy has been used for creating the bodies of cell phones and DSLR cameras like the Nikon D800 and the Sony A7R.

Is Titanium Stronger Than a Diamond?

Titanium is not stronger than a diamond. In terms of hardness, Titanium is not harder than a diamond either.

Titanium strength is .434 GPa, or giga pascals. Diamond strength is around 60 GPa. As for the hardness scale, titanium is 36 Rockwell C, while diamond is 98.07 Rockwell C.

Although titanium has gained a reputation of being an extremely strong material, most steels are stronger. The only advantage titanium has over steel is that it is a much lighter material. When compared to diamond, however, titanium does not come close in strength or hardness.

What Is the Strongest Metal in the Universe?

The strongest known metal in the universe is steel alloy. Because steel alloy is so versatile, it can be crafted to meet nearly any requirement. Still, however it is crafted, the combination of steel with other strong metals makes it the strongest known metal in the universe.

As for hardness, chromium is the hardest known metal. While the hardest known mineral in the universe is diamond, the honor of the hardest metal goes to chromium. Chromium is used in the well-known alloy stainless steel to make it harder.

A wedding band from solid, unalloyed .999 rhodium.

A wedding band from solid, unalloyed .999 rhodium.

What Is the Rarest Metal in the World?

The rarest metal in the world is rhodium. This metal is sourced mainly from South Africa, Russia, and Canada, and is used for its reflective properties. Other metals that are considered almost as rare as rhodium are listed below.

The 11 Rarest Metals in the World

MetalCharacteristics

Rhodium

Reflective, non-corrosive

Platinum

Malleable, non-corrosive

Gold

Durable, malleable

Ruthenium

Durable, hard

Iridium

High melting point, dense, non-corrosive

Osmium

Bluish-silver, dense, brittle

Palladium

Malleable, stable when heated

Rhenium

Extremely dense

Silver

Conductive, reflective

Indium

Reflective, malleable

What Is Stronger Than a Diamond?

According to PhysOrg.com article from 2009, a material called wurtzite boron nitride has a greater indentation strength than diamond. The scientists who made this discovery have also calculated that another material, lonsdaleite, is even stronger than wurtzite boron nitride and 58 percent stronger than a diamond. This discovery marked the first case where a material exceeded a diamond in strength under the same loading conditions.

The extreme strength of the two materials is due to their reaction to compression. Most materials undergo a structural transformation under pressure that makes them stronger. Lonsdaleite and wurtzite boron nitride have subtle differences in the directional arrangements of their structural bonds, making them stronger than diamonds under pressure.

Is Vibranium Stronger Than Titanium?

Because vibranium is the fictional metal that Captain America's shield is made of, it is most likely stronger than titanium. However, because we can not perform strength or hardness tests on a fictional material, all we can say is titanium is real and strong, and vibranium is an as yet undiscovered material, at least in this universe.

A36 Steel Tensile Test (Video)

© 2017 Jo Kenyon

Comments

ANTHOLEX NIGERIA LIMITED on July 07, 2020:

Your write up is very educative.

Can you please send me your news letters?

Tajzheal on May 27, 2020:

The strongest known metal in the universe is a steel alloy. Because steel alloy is so versatile, it can be crafted to meet nearly any requirement. Still, however it is crafted, the combination of steel with other strong metals makes it the strongest known metal in the universe.

As for hardness, chromium is the hardest known metal. While the hardest known mineral in the universe is diamond, the honor of the hardest metal goes to chromium. Chromium is used in the well-known alloy stainless steel to make it harder.

Tajzheal on May 27, 2020:

As for hardness, chromium is the hardest known metal. While the hardest known mineral in the universe is diamond, the honor of the hardest metal goes to chromium. Chromium is used in the well-known alloy stainless steel to make it harder.

Ankur Sharma on May 20, 2020:

What if titanium and tungsten are made alloy and some carbon is also added

KHK on April 27, 2020:

Fictional metals don't count in here.

Let's stay in the real world.

Boron nitride is one of the hardest metal alloys known today.

Alloys containing chromium and tungsten are also significantly higher on the scale than any tool steel or stainless alloy

jude on March 04, 2020:

what are different kinds of valcanoes

Casey Fowler on February 05, 2020:

I found some metal ore it is highly reflective. It makes a carbon battery on a flashlight get so bright the light it gives off looks like a welder arc while welding. It is silver looking under a microscope looks like mercury but is so hard you cant grind it dent it . Also it is nonmagnet and I shot it (1/8'inch thick) 10ft away and it barely left a trace on the metal of where the bullet hit. Can someone tell me where to get it analyzed.

Feedback on January 23, 2020:

Joe, you have over 50 comments, most of which are questions. You, being the authority on this article have replied to ZERO. You're perfectly happy to collect ad revenue from your audience, but unwilling to engage them and educate them... I'm going to chalk this up to another ego article of, "look how much I know and you don't." Sad really, the state of journalism in today's age. It seems the only "journalists" willing to respond are those who wish to propagate false information as a reinforcement medium.

Was hoping to gain some real insight from this article. Thanks for wasting several minutes of my life. :)

Timothy Hawks from Pomona on November 25, 2019:

I work as a saw operator in the Aerospace industry and I've cut a lot of metal and I was wondering how come beta21 is alot harder to cut then titanium when beta21 is in the titanium family also what's stronger beta21 or cobalt? Thank you for your time.

Iqewnium on October 25, 2019:

Looking for bulletproofnium ...?

I have very little left. Just rub it on your clothes or skin & it'll become harder than Litanium or quartnium if impacted by anything traveling over 1300 FPS

Ella on October 22, 2019:

what type of steel is used to mould the tungsten tips into for a borehole drill?

steve Burke on October 03, 2019:

beryllium is the strongest specific strength metal known. much higher than titanium. in fact titanium,aluminum and steel (the alloys of ) are about the same strength/ratio or specific strength. only beryllium is the odd ball on this. its extremely expensive and is very toxic in power form. used mainly in high end telescopes like the web that is about to go into space, and hardening up copper. We use it in injection mold making - at 2% alloying with copper changes the strength from about 20kpsi to 120kpsi

JB12Gamer on October 01, 2019:

what it be called if you caombined titanium, chromium, and tungsten

megabyte on September 16, 2019:

I got vibranium tons of it. but im afraid that it could go to the wrong hands if i sell it.

Xape on August 29, 2019:

Is magnesium alloy the strongest metal?

Pacific rim on August 07, 2019:

I'm confused it says steel alloy is stronger but then it says there another metal that is combined and is stronger so which one is stronger

Dr.Marvelous on July 14, 2019:

Yes it is possible Raul. I created my own vibranium recently. I have plans to sell someon on amazon soon.

Raúl. on June 29, 2019:

Is Vibranium possible to create. Using a combination of steels?

Mwangi on June 23, 2019:

That's why

You mamm on June 21, 2019:

Cool info

bob on June 12, 2019:

yeet

heh on June 07, 2019:

Vibranium is not real :)

Nata on May 28, 2019:

Hi, just wanted to say I love how Vibranium is included in this post. Love the light touch :)

Ravi on May 19, 2019:

I like ...

JunoJim on May 02, 2019:

WOW !!! Very few real or smart answers here... I made a ring from Inconel - doesn't corrode - virtually indestructible - burned out a few carbide drill bits...

me on April 23, 2019:

fortnight

hunter on April 11, 2019:

what is the strongest metal period. that is my question strong enough to take a bullet

Hermèsthe inventor on April 06, 2019:

I need a metal or alloy strong enough to withstand space for at least 100 years

Banna Bud on March 29, 2019:

What about mythril and orichalium?!!

richard on March 22, 2019:

So are we just going to forget about unabtanium...

anonymous on March 21, 2019:

The strongest known material in the universe (in real life) is diamene which is a form of graphene. It is actually stronger than graphene and graphene is already 200x stronger than steel. It is flexible and upon impact becomes harder than diamond.

D on March 02, 2019:

All these comments and nothing about Adamantium??????

Shaun on February 05, 2019:

I thought aluminium/tin foil was the strongest so i made a wrench out of it and it was useless.

Akeaman on January 06, 2019:

The srocket that l put on a spaceship about 15 yrs ago is the strongest metal called ramrod.

anonymous on November 23, 2018:

Hmm.. Just wondering why no mention on Hihiirokane althought its exist.. I mean the three national treasure of Japan use them..

brian on November 16, 2018:

vacuforium new metal stronger than any metal

Izaro Phrecius on October 21, 2018:

Belief is the strongest metal of them all

LightningDeath on October 20, 2018:

For making Vibranium all you need is Ti-3Al-8V-6Cr-4Zr-4Mo Beta C alloy with Ti-6Al-4V with Fe-12Ni-5Pt-15Al and Fe-6C-6Al-4W-7Sn and Steel this would be most likely an alloy for Vibranium use those alloys together and you will make a man made version of Vibranium

cbt-the-god on October 08, 2018:

just curios, the best metal for bulletproof purposes is probably AR-500 Steel

Neo on August 21, 2018:

how 'bout mythril and orichalcum?

Ahsani on August 09, 2018:

Best answers on metal found so far. Thanks, dude.

The Mechaneer on July 27, 2018:

So what's the most durable, least likely to deform, non metal?

Oh, and is graphene or carbon nono tubing better for mecha type machinery?

Tim on July 23, 2018:

What would be considered the best type of metal to use to make weapons with like swords for example

Tim on July 23, 2018:

What would be considered the best type of metal to use to make weapons with like swords for example

just curios on May 30, 2018:

so if i wanted to make armour that was bulletproof and shock resistant what is the metal i should use

shitty guns on May 24, 2018:

need strongest metrals for the best guns. where can i find?

Anonymous Johnymous on May 21, 2018:

Most of you guys would say that Wakandan Vibranium is the strongest known metal, when there is a metal known as Supermanium. And the name says itself, it can only be forged and made by only Superman. Vibranium is pretty weak when it comes to oxidation and forging. Supermanium can handle temperatures almost as hot as the sun's core, Y'all are weak.

Logan on May 18, 2018:

I need more adamantium.where can find?

smart guy on May 17, 2018:

anyone know where to get vibranium

Mike on May 13, 2018:

How about Neutronium, accessible only from the core of a collapsed neutron star

Knowledgeable Guy on May 02, 2018:

Using my own knowledge of comic books, I'd suggest using wakandan vibranium if you wish to make the metal out of something that can be found on Earth. Although if you're looking for stronger metals, then I'd suggest using the holy metal of Uru which can be only be found in the deepest mining forges of Asgard. Uru being the strongest metal in the existing universe, but then again Thanos' gauntlet is actually made from Uru anyway so it would technically be impossible to make a gauntlet more powerful than that.

red power ranger on April 25, 2018:

hi dad

power ranger on April 23, 2018:

hello

Thanos on April 18, 2018:

@Nathan, I am also looking for metals to use to make a gauntlet. Let me know what you find out.

Quan on April 07, 2018:

Im loking at metlas for my year 3 aiiigment about metals

please help if you now anything about metals

steve on March 29, 2018:

make a pen that turns into a shield

Juan on March 16, 2018:

I bet at least 80% of the people making this inquiry, were thinking in Adamantium or Vibranium.

Corey on March 01, 2018:

@Nathan I would suggest basalt fiber for a temperature resistant gauntlet. It has the tensile strength of S-Glass fiberglass, is made of stone, is fireproof, and doesn't melt until 2400F

Nathan on February 28, 2018:

I'm trying to find metals that I could use to make a gauntlet that are extremely strong, and also incredibly resistant to extreme temperatures and drastic temperature changes. Any ideas?

Poust on December 31, 2017:

Merry happy dreams sweetheart