All the Armor in the World?

Rumsfeld got me wondering about the total tonnage of armor in the world.


Tanks, ships, body armor etc. etc; does anyone have an estimate of how much metal is in the world’s supply of armor? Would it make a cube 200 meters on a side, half a kilometer? How big a nuke would it take to vaporize it all at one go?

You really need to get a hobby :rolleyes:

You really need to get a username more in keeping with your total lack of curiosity.

Moderator’s Notes:
You need to keep insults out of General Questions.

Don’t do this again.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

OP: What do you consider armor? I mean, that’s kind of a broad term. Armored trucks are armored. Some bullets wear jackets. I hate to have to say this, but I think this is too broad for even the SDMB to answer.

Tank armor, ship armor (probably have to go with total tank and ship mass, unless they come in armored vs unarmored versions) Truck armor (e.g.
Add-on armor for the Stryker adds approximately 7,000 lbs to the vehicle weight). Include the ceramic bits. Forget helicopters and planes, they’re just too complicated, also bullets and ammo. Vests and such are probably too small a part of the total to matter. I’d just like some idea of the total amount of steel and ceramic used for the purpose of keeping explosions away from the inside of vehicles. For a start, you could add up total tank, armored vehicle, and ship weights. That information is probably on the web somewhere, but I’ve not found it in a decent, condensed form. On the other hand, you could find what percentage of steel output goes into such armor, and multiply by yearly steel production… There’s several ways to look at the question, but it’ll take a lot of digging, unless someone happens to know a good place to start.

Just to start us off with some numbers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt has 60,000 tons of structural steel. The US Navy has 13 carriers in service or under construction. There are 26 submarines at around 10,000 tons each.

The M1 Abrams weighs around 65 tons and according to this site

Anyone got a calculator?

Not to criticize Tapioca Dextrin’s informative post, but in general “armor” as applied to military materiel references armor plate situated to repel shells and other material that is placed into motion with the intent of penetrating and killing/wounding/putting out of battle the people and weapons of the opponent, rather than structural steel. If you build a warship, you use steel framing, then you protect the outside with reinforced steel armor plate. A bulkhead or girder would not count as “armor” in this context.

Squink did say that we could use the total weight for both ships and tanks :wink:

AC carriers 60,000 tons X 13 = 780000 tons
subs 10,000 tons X 26 = 260000 tons
M1 tanks 65 tons X 8800 = 5720000
total = 16120000 tons or 1.462 X 10[sup]13[/sup] grams.
Using a density of 7.86 g/cc (iron) for the armor, gives a total volume of 1,860,536,641,221 cmsup]3[/sup].

That’s equal in volume to a cube which is 123 meters (403.5 feet) on a side.

It’d take a heck of a bang to get to a tank embedded behind 200 feet of steel.

-Of course you’re right Poly, but with the, admittedly squishy, definition of armor, I think the best I can hope for here is a ballpark figure.