Technology is an essential cornerstone of modern weapons research and development. But in terms of importance, mineral resources are still above technology, which is because technology can be developed while it is really nothing can be done without materials. What are the top five strategic metals in the world?
One metal known for its high strength and low density is titanium. Besides, the remarkable advantage of titanium alloys is their heat resistance, so titanium has been honored with the special title of aviation metal. Compared with magnesium-aluminum alloy, titanium alloy has lower density; in addition, titanium alloy can work at the high temperature of 550℃, with a certain high-temperature persistence and good low-temperature impact toughness, so it is used in the aerospace industry. Titanium alloy is mainly used for the production of the aircraft fuselage, landing gear, engine compressor disk, blade, turbo pump shell, nozzle, cylinder, and solid rocket engine and other parts.
Uranium is an element that people get frightened upon hearing of it, which is known to be one of the key materials for a nuclear weapon. Because of its strategic importance, and it contains only two parts per million of uranium in the earth’s crust, uranium is an important resource that every country tightly controls for production and use. Compared with uranium used in weapons competition, uranium used for people’s livelihood, though relatively low in price, is also valuable and unmarketable.
When it comes to the most widely used materials, magnesium alloys are always remembered. Indeed, the material has numerous applications in aerospace and weapons production. Due to its high hardness and lightweight, magnesium alloy has become the preferred material for the construction of highly mobile weapons. In terms of density, magnesium alloys weigh only two-thirds as much as aluminum and a quarter as much as steel but are still stronger than both, so magnesium deserves the title of defense metal. But, the strategic metal is not very expensive because of the large amount of magnesium in the world.
Rhenium is a truly rare element and is less abundant in the earth’s crust than all other rare metals. As a metal element with high boiling point and melting point, it is mainly used in the production of aero-engine blades, high-precision equipment for making gyroscopes, and the synthesis of high-octane gasoline. It is an indispensable material in the core turbofan of an engine, so it is safe to say that modern aircraft cannot be produced without rhenium. It has now overtaken platinum as one of the most important metals in the strategic reserve.
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Tungsten is another metal with a high melting and boiling point that you’ve probably heard of. Its high melting point gives the material good high-temperature strength and corrosion resistance, so many bulbs use this material as tungsten filament. In modern applications, tungsten is also widely used in modern communication technology, electronic computers, aerospace development, photosensitive materials, photoelectric materials, energy materials, catalyst materials, and weapons industry.
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