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How Does BLACK PANTHER’s Vibranium Suit Work?

Vibranium has the honor of being simultaneously one of the most and least understood materials in pop culture. We all know it’s in Captain America’s shield and Black Panther‘s badass suit, and we know it absorbs kinetic energy. But how does vibranium do this? That’s something the canon never quite explains. So let’s imagine ourselves Wakandan scientists and figure it out.

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In my latest episode, I try my best to combine futuristic engineering with a material that is frustratingly hard to make sense of from a physics perspective. The key to vibranium working the way comic books and movies say is to absorb kinetic energy but store that energy in a usable form. In most collisions, though, that energy is lost as heat and sound and the deformation of material. Vibranium has to use one of these modes to build up car-crushing power. But which, and how would Wakandan engineers accomplish it?

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