Star Wars Metallurgy: finding the fact in the fiction
As we celebrate May the 4th and all things Star Wars, you may be wondering how fact compares to fiction. Ever since Star Wars first premiered in 1977, we’ve been fascinated by the materials used to create the iconic spaceships of the series. From materials used in the iconic Millennium Falcon, Mandalorian armour, to the fatally flawed Death Star, metal alloys have a significant role in one of the greatest science fiction series of all time.
While many of the metal alloys we are familiar with today are present in the Star Wars universe, including titanium, carbon, and aluminium, there is an abundance of alloys unique to the Star Wars universe. We’ve broken down the metals behind your favourite characters and spaceships to help you navigate a galaxy far, far away.
Millennium Falcon – Durasteel
The Millennium Falcon was a Corellian YT-1300f light freighter principally made from the fictional durasteel, a fictional carbon-based alloy. Though weaker than the titanium alloys present in the Star Wars universe, this alloy is stronger than regular steel, easily fabricated and protects against kinetic energy impact. While strong enough to withstand the extreme temperatures of space and blaster fire, it was not indestructible and needed maintenance. Carbon Steel alloys were a popular choice for automotive materials of the time and may have influenced the properties behind durasteel.
You may not know that Millennium Falcon created for the film was made from scavenged Royal Air Force cargo planes, adding to the weathered look of the iconic ship. Modern aircraft principally uses a combination of aluminium, titanium and stainless steel to combine low density for better lift and fuel consumption, strength and corrosion resistance.
The Death Star – Quadanium
The iconic Death Star was made almost entirely of quadium alloy, another fictional metal alloy sourced from the planet Despayre. Its properties indicate it was much lighter than real-world alloys but stronger and more durable than most metals. It’s believed that quadium alloy is made from carvanium and quadanium steel. The momentous demise of the Death Star highlights in an unforgettable way that even superior material properties cannot overcome a flawed design.
Mandalorian Armour – Beskar
The Mandalorian armour, made famous by Bobba Fett and more recently Mando, is made from mandaalsteel, commonly known as Beskar. This fictional iron-based rare alloy comes solely from Mandalore, offering unrivalled material strength and an almost impenetrable surface, ideal for armour and weapons. It was available in various forms, including plate, laminate, and wire and mesh, crafted by skilled armourers in the galaxy like Din Djarin.
Aside from the infamous monochrome stormtroopers, Mandalorian armour is one of the most iconic looks of the Star Wars franchise. And far more durable compared to that given the cannon fodder storm troopers. A Mandalorian’s armour is manufactured from two different metals.
Beskar iron makes up most of the armour, but owing to its high density, the helmet, faceplate, chest plate, shoulder plates and gauntlets are made with phrik alloy. This combination of rare metals is impenetrable by lightsabres or blaster fire, making it perfect for crafting armour and helped make the Mandalorians formidable as both heroes and foes in Star Wars history.
In the real world, full metal armour is often seen as a thing of the past, but in reality, innovations have simply made the use of metal more discreet. Kevlar, in conjunction with metal trauma plates, is a popular combination, alongside the increasing use of low-density metals, including aluminium. In contrast to Beskar, Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals on the planet, and while we doubt it could protect you from a lightsabre, it’s undeniably an improvement on armour designs of days gone by.
While we can’t source you some of Star Wars’ more exotic alloys, we promise you won’t need to go to a galaxy far, far away to find the perfect metal alloys for you. Whether you need precision strip or wire, get in touch with our team to help you today.
May the 4th Be With You