Vibranium is one the strongest and most versatile metals to appear in Marvel Comics and the MCU. It was deposited on Earth around 2.5 million years ago when a meteorite crash landed on the African continent. The area would would go on to become Wakanda. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe it is used to make Captain America’s shield as well be the energy source for the country of Wakanda – but is Vibranium real?
Does Vibranium really exist?
The short answer is no, Vibranium is not real. However, there are a few real-life materials that have similar properties to it. Some might even be better than Vibranium.
One such example is a substance called Graphene. Graphene is a supermaterial which is 200 times stronger than steel and 1000 times lighter than paper. Not only that though, it is also incredibly stretchy. It can even stretch up to 20% of its initial length.
All of these properties make Graphene a viable option as real world Vibranium. So why hasn’t anyone made a Captain America shield yet? The answer is because researchers haven’t found a way to cost effectively mass produce it. But when they do, I’ll be first in line for my Black Panther suit.
Vibranium vs Graphene
Both materials have incredible properties but which comes out on top – Vibranium or Graphene?
According to Howard Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger, Vibranium is
“stronger than steel, weighs one third as much, and is completely vibration-absorbent”.Howard Stark on Vibranium
On the other hand, we know that Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and 1,000 times lighter than paper making it the clear winner in terms of strength and weight.
One property of Vibranium that Graphene cannot compete with however is it’s vibration absorbent quality. In Black Panther, T’Challa uses the Vibranium in his suit to charge up kinetic energy before releasing it all at once in a devastating blast.
Captain America’s shield is also able to withstand almost any blow using the same vibration-absorbent property. It even took a direct blow from Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, coming out without a scratch.
While Graphene is an amazing material, it doesn’t boast quite the same qualities as Vibranium. So while Vibranium is not real, we’ll just have to make-do with alternatives for now.