What is the strongest metal on earth? In practice, this is somewhat of a difficult question to answer because it depends on several factors. It not only depends on how you define strength but also on whether you are ranking alloys or simply natural metals. However, some good candidates for the strongest metal on earth are carbon steel, stainless steel, tungsten, titanium, chromium, and iron.
“Life should be like precious metals: weigh much in little bulk.” — Seneca
It’s difficult to say which metals truly of the strongest metal because the strength of the metal is dependent on several different attributes. (Although that said, steel and various steel alloys have the highest general strength.) Titanium and tungsten are also metals with high natural strength. There are stronger substances out there in the universe, for instance, diamond is harder than any of the affirmation metals, but it isn’t a metal.
4 Different Measurements Of Strength
The strength of the metal is usually defined by one of four different attributes: impact strength, compressive strength, yield strength, and tensile strength.
Impact strength refers to the ability of metal, or any material, to take a hit and have its structure remain intact. It’s the materials’ ability to avoid shattering when impacted by another object. Most metals can’t be shattered very easily. Compressive strength is a measurement of the materials’ ability to resist being crushed, or squeezed together. One of the main ways that compressive strength is measured is to through the Mohs scale, which runs from 0 to 10 with 10 being the strongest. Yield strength tracks the ability of a length of metal, such as a beam or rod of steel, to resist permanent deformation or bending. This is one of the most important attributes for structural engineers to pay attention to. Tensile strength can be thought of as the opposite of compressive strength, and it reflects how well a metal resists attempts to pull it apart.
Natural metals are just elements that occur naturally on earth that have been refined. In contrast, alloys are combinations of different metals. Steel is one of the most widely produced alloys, being a combination of carbon and iron. The combination of these two elements gives it much more overall strength than its component parts. Metallurgists are those who specialize in the creation of certain alloys.
“The hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so must the hardest heart melt before sufficiency of the heat of non-violence. And there is no limit to the capacity of non-violence to create heat.” — Mahatma Ghandi
As mentioned, because different properties give different metals different types of strength, it’s difficult to say that one metal is simply stronger than another metal. However, the following list of metals represents metals usually classified as having some of the highest overall strength, and the different metals will be chosen based on the requirements of the project.
10 Different Strong Metals
Stainless steel is a specific alloy that has components of manganese, chromium, and steel. The addition of chromium and manganese to the steel gives it a corrosive resistant property, combined with high yield strength. The yield strength of stainless steel is somewhere around 1550 MPA and it also has a tensile strength of approximately 1600 MPA. The alloy has high impact resistance and a medium Mohs score.
Carbon steel is an extremely common alloy of carbon and iron, which has been produced for centuries now. It scores very highly in all four strength categories, with a tensile strength of about 550 MPA and a yield strength of around 260 MPA. It has a Mohs score of about 6.0 and high impact resistance.
“If you beat metal long enough, it turns to steel.” — Penelope Douglas
There are different Steel-Iron-Nickel Alloys, which are made by combining carbon steel with nickel. The effect of this combination increases carbon steel’s already fairly high yield strength to somewhere around 420 MPA and its tensile strength to the neighborhood of around 460 MPA.
Titanium is a naturally occurring element, so it’s not an alloy. It is stronger than most other metals like tungsten when it comes to tensile strength. It has one of the best tensile strength to density ratios of any metals. Titanium alloys tend to be very lightweight, and their strength in addition to this lightweight property makes them ideal for use in the aerospace industry. Titanium does tend to have a lower Mohs score though.
Titanium aluminide is an alloy created from vanadium, aluminum, and titanium. The combination of these three metals gives the alloy tensile strength of about 880 MPA and a yield strength of approximately 800 MPA.
Tungsten is another naturally occurring element, much like titanium. Tungsten is known to have the highest tensile strength out of any known alloy, natural metal. That said, tungsten is also known for being brittle and easily shattering when impacted, compared to other metals. To compensate for this, tungsten is often combined with other metals like steel to create more robust alloys.
Tungsten Carbide is an example of an alloy of tungsten. The combination of carbon with tungsten makes it more versatile, with a yield strength of between 300 to 1000 MPA and a tensile strength of between 500 MPA to 1050 MPA. Tungsten carbide is frequently used in the creation of sharp-edged tools like circular saw blades and knives.
Iron is not only one of the strongest metals in the world, but it also is fairly simple to collect and refine, making it the choice of metalworkers throughout much of history. Iron has been used to make many different tools and weapons, and frequently used to supplement other metals. Cast-iron has a Mohs score of around five, while it has a tensile strength of about 414 MPA and a yield strength of about 246 MPA.
Chromium has a Mohs score of 9.0, meaning that it is arguably the hardest metal in the entire world. Chromium’s drawbacks are that it doesn’t have great tensile strength or yield strength compared to other metals, hence it is often used to supplement other metals and create more robust alloys, rather than being the only type of metal used in a project.
Inconel is a superalloy constructed of chromium, nickel, and austenite. Inconel is known for maintaining its strength even in conditions of high temperature and extreme pressure, which makes the superalloy an ideal choice for use in situations like nuclear reactors and high-power turbines.