List of Star Trek materials

This is a list of fictional materials from the science fiction universe of Star Trek. Like other aspects of stories in the franchise, some were recurring plot elements from one episode or series to another.


Metals for starship construction

The fictional metals duranium and tritanium were referred to in many episodes as extremely hard alloys used in starship hulls.

Transparent aluminum

Star Trek technical manuals indicate that transparent aluminum is used in various fittings in starships, including exterior ship portals and windows. It was notably mentioned in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Panels of ultra-thick acrylic glass were needed to construct water tanks within their ship's cargo bay for containing two humpback whales and tons of water. However, the Enterprise crew, without money appropriate to the period, found it necessary to barter for the required materials. Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott exchanges the chemical formula for transparent aluminum for several sheets of plexiglass from a manufacturer called Plexicorp. When Dr. Leonard McCoy informs Scott that giving Dr. Nichols the formula is altering the future, the engineer responds, "Why? How do we know he didn't invent the thing?" (In the novelization of the film, Scott is aware that Dr. Marcus "Mark" Nichols(Alex Henteloff), the Plexicorp scientist with whom he and McCoy deal, was its "inventor," and concludes that his giving of the formula is a predestination paradox/bootstrap paradox.) The substance is described as being as transparent as glass while possessing the strength and density of high-grade aluminum. André Bormanis has concluded that the material would not be a good conductor of electricity.

Coincidently Transparent Aluminum has become another Star Trek fiction turned reality when it was created as a new state of matter by a team of scientists in 2009. [1]

Aluminium oxynitride is a form of ceramic whose properties are similar to those of the fictional substance seen in Star Trek.


Trellium-D, shown in Star Trek: Enterprise, was an alloy used in the Delphic Expanse as a protection against spatial anomalies there. It had unusual effects on Vulcan physiology, and became a recurring plot element in the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise, exploring the theme of drug addiction.

Other materials were occasionally mentioned in the scripts, such as nitrium, a radiation-resistant material.

Energy sources

Dilithium crystals, in all Star Trek series, were shown to be an essential component for a starship's faster than light drive, or warp drive, since they were necessary to regulate the matter-antimatter reactions needed to generate the required energy. Dilithium was frequently featured in the original series as a scarce resource. By the time in which the later series were set, dilithium could be synthesized.

Trilithium is a material used in a star-destroying weapon in Star Trek Generations. This is due to the fact that Trilithium is termed as a "nuclear inhibitor", which is believed to be any substance that interferes with nuclear reactions. In the film, Trilithium is known to be capable, when used to its full potential, of stopping all fusion within a star, thereby collapsing the star and destroying everything within its solar system via a shock wave.

Precious materials

Latinum featured in many episodes of Deep Space Nine as a medium of exchange used by Ferengis and others. It was a liquid usually traded as "gold-pressed latinum"; once the latinum was extracted, the gold was discarded.

Tholian silk was a valuable fabric mentioned in multiple series.

Bio-mimetic gel is a volatile substance with medical applications. It is also highly sought after for use in illegal activities, such as genetic experimentation and biological weapons development. As such, its use is strictly regulated by the United Federation of Planets, and sale of the substance is prohibited. The substance was first mentioned in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was used as a plot element in several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


Kironide is a mineral by which, in Star Trek: The Original Series, in the episode Plato's Stepchildren, the Platonians (the inhabitants of the planet Platonius) have telekinetic powers including the ability to levitate from consuming plants containing the mineral kironide.[2]

Pergium is a substance mined in The Devil in the Dark.


Cordrazine, introduced in The City on the Edge of Forever is a powerful stimulant used to revive patients in an emergency. Overdoses cause hallucinations, madness and death.

Venus drug, introduced in Mudd's Women, cause women to appear much lovelier and more exciting than they really are.

Unstable substances

Protomatter is a key component of the Genesis Device prototype--an experimental terraformation device introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Protomatter is presented as a very unstable substance that, due to its instability, is considered unethical for usage in scientific research. The substance is used as a plot device to compare David Marcus with his father, James T. Kirk, both of whom, in Lieutenant Saavik's words, "changed the rules"--David Marcus in using the forbidden protomatter, and James T. Kirk in "cheating" to win the Kobayashi Maru test. The inclusion of protomatter ultimately results in both the accelerated maturation of the regenerated Spock during his stay on the Genesis planet, and the planet's subsequent explosion into an asteroid belt.

The Omega Molecule is a highly unstable molecule believed to be the most powerful substance known to exist. If not properly disposed of, it may destroy subspace and render warp travel impossible. In Star Trek: Voyager, during the episode The Omega Directive, Voyager encounters Omega particles and Captain Janeway must ignore the Prime Directive and destroy the particles. Later in the episode, they spontaneously stabilize for a brief moment before they are destroyed.

Red matter was a red, liquid material introduced in Star Trek (the 2009 film) that was able to create a black hole when not properly contained. Spock attempted to use it to stop a massive, galaxy-threatening supernova, but the resultant black hole caused his own ship and a Romulan mining vessel to travel back in time. Later in the film, the antagonist Nero used it to destroy the planet Vulcan. Shortly after, the future Spock's ship containing the red matter was used to destroy Nero's Romulan mining vessel.

Fictional substances within Star Trek

Corbomite was named by Captain Kirk in a bluff in The Corbomite Maneuver as a material and a device that prevents attack, because if any destructive energy touches the vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying the attacker.

Non-Star Trek references

Tritanium is also a metallic mineral used in the construction of star ships in the MMORPG Eve Online. In the Eve universe, tritanium is a versatile material and is the primary material used in the construction of virtually all star ships and star ship components. It is described as being unstable at atmospheric temperatures, and thus is only used in constructing objects intended to stay in space permanently.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Krauss, Lawrence M. Beyond Star Trek:Physics from Alien Invasions to the End of Time New York:1997 Basic Books (A Division of Harper Collins) Page 124

External links

Articles at Memory Alpha

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