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In a world where humans are physically stronger (say, they lift about 40-45k lbs), and probably gravity is 0.6 from Earth's, what is the best metal to make an armor from?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Mołot, Aify, SRM, Frostfyre, James Jan 26 '17 at 14:55

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "not strength capped." Please clarify. $\endgroup$ – CHEESE Jan 26 '17 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on what's being fired at the armour. Arrows? Bullets? Multi-frequency-phase beams? $\endgroup$ – Tim Jan 26 '17 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ Kevlar isn't a metal. Hard shell plastics are not metals. Are you really wanting to rule those options out? $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 26 '17 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ Lift 45000 pounds? Saying “humans are stronger” is an understatement! I’d say magic bone (the same stuff that allows such strength), not metal, would be the right answer. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jan 26 '17 at 6:37
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz That's what I call lateral thinking! Also, it would be really creepy and intimidating to be confronted by an armoured person where the armour was made of human bones. The horror! $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 26 '17 at 8:28
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I'm pretty sure depleted uranium plates makes for the best armor. At least the US military thinks so because it is used in their state-of-the-art battle tanks.

If worried about (hypothetical) radiation dangers, there are tungsten alloys that are as strong as depleted uranium, but its really expensive to make.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure that depleted uranium plates right next to your skin are not good for your long term health. Even the difference between having the DU a meter or two away from your body with a shielding material between the DU and the personnel, and having it a few millimeters away from the personnel's skin, would dramatically increase the health risks for the user. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke Jan 26 '17 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ohwilleke don't know. According to US military researchers, even ingesting depleted uranium is safe. Otherwise, they'd not have scattered it all through-out the lands of Iraq! Anyway, I think there is a tungsten alloy that is near as impenetrable as depleted uranium. $\endgroup$ – Just Someone Jan 26 '17 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ US tanks use a multi-layer sandwich of many materials to deal with many different types of threats. It includes ceramics, various metals, a Kevlar anti-spall liner, elastic layers... see Chobham armour. $\endgroup$ – Schwern Jan 26 '17 at 5:13
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I'd not use metal at all. I'd use human muscle. Whatever you did to physics to permit a human to lift that much mass would make it perfect for use as body armor!

Of course, the thing to remember about armor is it is not made to suit the individual wearing it. It's made to suit the individual wearing it and the particular attacks that one is trying to deflect. Without understanding all of the weapons these superhumans may face, it's never clear what the best armor looks like. For a concrete example, consider the difference between a kevlar bodyarmor vest and a full EOD Advanced Bomb Suit. Their materials are similar (both rely heavily on Kevlar), but their design is vastly differently. The ABS, for example, is carefully constructed to prevent overpressure from an exploding IED from rupturing the technician's lungs. The typical kevlar body armor doesn't have this because it's very bulky and uncomfortable and most individuals wearing body armor aren't facing enough IEDs to warrant the added discomfort and weight.

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If you design an armor to maximize its weight you are aiming for killing its bearer, who will struggle wearing this heavy piece of sh...ield on the battlefield. Imagine a vest made of 10 cm thick reinforced concrete: max weight, max protection, null mobility.

Your design should instead aim at maximizing the energy absorption (you want the bullet or the blade to dissipate its energy while travelling through the armor, not the body underneath) while keeping it as light as possible, to let the soldier as agile as possible.

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The densest metal is Osmium. But heavy is NOT the same as strong/resistant!

Osmium the densest naturally occurring element, with a density of 22.59 g/cm^3. Note that this is more dense than Uranium (~19 g/cm^3), depleted or otherwise!

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