So, I think it's safe to say that in the base game Vanadium Chromium Steel is the strongest alloy. It's only downside is cost, and due to the abundance of iron on Earth that problem should be limited if not eliminated in the real world. VCS is a real thing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium-vanadium_steel) but there seems to be very little information available on it outside of alloy forums and a paltry one paragraph Wikipedia article. So what's the deal? Is it not as fantastic as COADE plays it out to be? What am I missing? Is the cost of vanadium and chromium enough to offset the abundance of iron and other advantages? Why are we not seeing news articles about new ships with VCS armor plates, or VCS skyscrapers?
VCS is a wide group of metals. Most tool steels are VCS. It's super common. Tank armor is classified but it probably is VCS. Skyscrapers rely on compression strength much more than tensile strength, and concrete is a supermaterial in terms of compression strength.
So, is the VCS represented in game just too expensive to be practical? There seems to be too much of a gap between carbon steel and VCS, as far as COADE is concerned, for it to be incorporated into most steel products.
Probably. It's a high-end high speed steel, so in the real world, it's quite expensive. Unlike in COADE, it's not only abundance that factors into cost, but for example the ease of manufacturing, so it's only used where its qualities are critical. Power tools, high quality knives and so on is where you're most likely to find it. If high hardness and high tensile strength is what you're after, VCS really is that good.
It would probably make good fuel tanks, but rockets, like skyscrappers, have to resist compression stresses. A VCS balloon tank (which doesn't have this problem) could likely be made incredibly lightweight, but costs would skyrocket, and rockets are optimized for cost, not for performance numbers.
This is actually something I've been meaning to bring up for a long time. I suppose now I am obliged.
Personally I think VCS tensile given at over 5 GPa may be an error. Two entries offering such numbers can be found on Matweb, and only there to my knowledge, not that my knowledge is extensive by any means. In any case, most steels have numbers in the 500-1200 MPa range. If a decimal were missed out when typing a number like 520.5 MPa, you would have 5205 MPa which is 5.205 GPa. Since the period is not a standard A-Z 0-9 alphanumeric character, there is a slightly heightened likelihood of such an omission occuring during the transposition from manufacturer's specifications to online resources.
Consider also the prime purpose of the steel – tools. Tools tend to be compressed against things rather than tensioned (again, to my knowledge) but the high tensile strength may be a side effect of the raising of more desirable properties. And yet if it is, well, many steels cited as high-strength fall between 2 and 3.5 GPa tensile, and no higher. Militaries have apparently been funding the development of maraging steels with strengths in excess of 3 GPa, and it's somewhat doubtful that they would bother if VCS was already so effective at lower cost (I say only somewhat doubtful because government-funded bodies tend toward exhorbitance).
On the other hand, 5 GPa steel seems perfectly conceivable for a future society to produce, making the whole matter a bit of a moot point, except for the fact that no other materials have such an "add 50% to the stats because future" benefit.
Perhaps it is not at a lower price. It might really be an error, or it may be some exotic specialty alloy that's not suitable for widespread military use. I'd expect an alloy with one parameter through the roof like that to have problems when it comes to machining or welding it, for example. It'd be interesting to see where this particular bit of data comes from.
Post by newageofpower on Dec 11, 2019 10:39:56 GMT
I was informed that many tool steels are not usable for military applications as their strength dramatically changes at super cold temperatures.
Many alloys do not work in large melts, as the various elements seperate via different specific gravity during extended melts. Manufacturing costs rise dramatically if exotic production processes are required.
Finally, ehile VCS may have higher tensile strength than HY80 (structural/hull steel for modern USN ships) it's stiffness is barely any higher, and for the purpose of building large ships, materiel stiffness is just as important as UTS. Infact, high UTS materials without correspondingly high stiffness is pretty much only useful for armor, which is currently mostly disfavored in modern warfare.
One could conceivably measure the tensile strength of VCS by just buying a few wrenches at the hardware store (Most brands like to tout their construction by writing things like "chromium vanadium" on the tool). If you put the wrench on a immobilized hex head then put a big steel pipe over the wrench you could try to turn it until the wrench fails. Since the ultimate tensile strength is usually the same as the flexural strength. Although, I am no expert and there are obvious holes in this methodology. Regardless I doubt I would see anything near 5 GPa.
One thing that I am unsure of is the effect of temperature on the material properties. I could be possible that VCS really is that tough at temperatures you would normally see in the vacuum of space. Tool steels can do seem to be affected dramatically by temperature as can be seen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAxi5YXTjEk
Last Edit: Dec 11, 2019 23:52:49 GMT by tepidbread
There are many grades of VCS (CrV Steel we call it) and similar alloys in reality. Each produced at specific proportions for specific purposes.
In my experience, a £10 cheap steel podger will bend by my own strength if used for a purpose beyond its capability. A £40-50 CrV Steel podger will not bend or break under my own unaided strength no matter what I do with it. Of course I can put a tube on the handle and use the lever to bend it. I have a hard time believing I couldn't break any metal hand tool in this way.
So CrV Steel used in high quality hand tools is tough. Defintitely a lot tougher than stainless or other standard Steels. I have experienced the difference in action.
From the figures in game it seems we have the highest of high grade CrV Steel at its optimum temperature.
I thought VCS was supposed to be high speed steel, like drill bits and such, not harbor freight hammer handle mild steel. I'd be more worried about brittle failure then bending a drill bit, bits are pretty damn hard.
This is the greatest thread necro I have every seen! I usually try and keep my ships as kosher as possible, no diamond hulls, paper thin radiators, or 1000kmps railguns. I was hesitant to use VCS because questionable data, but no longer! Outstanding work!