A wide variety of metals are used in military applications. These metals include, but are not limited to, titanium, stainless steel, carbon steel, and various nickel alloys. Each material choice is application-specific and is selected based on its strengths and weaknesses. Continental Steel has sourced and supplied Lockheed Martin, a major military hardware manufacturer with these and many more types of materials.
Titanium has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of all the metals and has great performance in extreme conditions with heightened temperatures. It is commonly alloyed with aluminum, vanadium or other elements for additional benefits. Its machinability allows it to be fabricated for armor protection and structural elements. Titanium is half the weight, but as strong as steel, and it is equal in weight to aluminum, but twice as strong.
Nickel alloys provide quality and strength for highly stressed, critical components. Nickel is a versatile element combining into alloys with many metals. Nickel alloys can have low thermal expansion, electrical resistance, magnetism, and/or memory hysteresis. They are used in Aircraft Carrier and Submarine nuclear power systems as well as for aircraft turbines engines. Continental Steel has supplied nickel tubing to the Pearl Harbor naval base and nickel alloy sheets to the U.S. Air Force for special projects.
Steel, either carbon or stainless, is a common material used in the military. Stainless steel is known for its corrosion resistance in high humidity. There are different grades of stainless steel, both magnetic and non-magnetic. Its weather resistance makes it very useful in items such as firearm gas tubes, dog tags and mess kits. The differentiating factor between stainless and carbon steel is the chromium content. Whereas carbon steel oxidation creates iron oxide, which flakes off, stainless steel creates chromium oxide, which adheres to the surface, passivating it from more exposure. Unlike stainless steel, Carbon steel has no minimum content specified or required for chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, or any other element to obtain a desired alloying effect. Although it is not rust proof, carbon steel can become very strong with heat treatments but this results in decreased ductility. Carbon steel is often used for items like knives and bayonets.