According to Black Panther, vibranium runs everything around Wakanda. It's what makes Black Panther, well, Black Panther. T'Challa is agile and strong, but we know that he gets his superhero strength from his ultrasleek, impact-resistant vibranium suit and the Heart-Shaped Herb that's mutated by vibranium. This fictional super material isn't there just for the sake of being there, though. It plays an important role in Wakandan history and society, and you might have heard of it from other nooks and crannies of the Marvel universe.
In addition to being durable and invulnerable, vibranium absorbs vibratory and kinetic energy into itself, which strengthens its molecular bonds and makes it nearly impossible to destroy. You can technically destroy it, but the amount of energy that's needed to do so hasn't been determined yet. In addition to Wakandan vibranium, there's Antarctic vibranium, which is more commonly referred to as Anti-Metal because of its ability to turn any metal into liquid. In the Marvel universe, scientists have also developed an artificial type of vibranium called reverbium, which, instead of absorbing vibrations, blows everything away.
Though it's relatively new and rare to the rest of the world, it's been around in Wakanda for a while, and there are 10,000 tons of it on Wakanda's sacred mound. Here's how the history of vibranium goes: a long time ago, a meteorite made of vibranium crashed into Wakanda, and the discoverers went to war over it. The warrior Bashenga ingested a Heart-Shaped Herb affected by vibranium and developed powerful abilities. He became the first Black Panther, bringing different tribes together to create the nation of Wakanda. Over time, the Wakandans experimented with vibranium and used it to develop their technologically advanced nation, integrating it into everything from weapons to medicines.
Vibranium isn't exclusive to Black Panther, though. The rare substance has been mentioned in other parts of the Marvel universe. For example, Captain America's shield consists of a vibranium-iron alloy developed by Dr. Myron MacLain. The Avengers have reinforced their tower with vibranium-laced concrete and created Vision out of Ultron's synthetic vibranium body in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury's Toolbox and the interrogation room on "The Bus" are also made of vibranium.
While the real world doesn't have vibranium, it does have Black Panther. We'll be enjoying watching Chadwick Boseman rock his vibranium suit from our theater seats.