Captain America’s shield
Captain America harnesses the power of “Vibranium,” a metal extracted from a meteorite that crashed in Africa. The shield is capable of absorbing, storing and redirecting kinetic energy, and the material becomes more powerful as more weapons are turned against it. In the movie, Captain America redirects a shot from Iron Man’s repulsor ray into a bunch of Chitauri warriors sneaking up on Iron Man.
“The property that lends Vibranium its remarkable characteristics is its ability to store or channel energy in its atomic structure,” said Suveen Mathaudhu, a program manager in the materials science division of the U.S. Army Research Office.
Scientists have yet to find a material that gets tougher the more it gets knocked around, but battlefield materials are getting increasingly better at dissipating impact energy.
Thor controls lightning
The Norse god Thor is able to summon lightning by wielding Mjolnir, his trusty enchanted hammer. Thor can channel the storm’s fury into devastating energy blasts that can destroy even secondary Adamantium. In real life, companies are tinkering with artificial lightning. Applied Energetics, a company that develops lasers and particle beam systems, has built a lightning gun that can stall cars or defuse roadside bombs.
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