The fiction: Those familiar with the mythology of the Marvel comic book universe will already be familiar with the mystical super-metal known as vibranium. Planted on Earth by a meteorite, and mined over centuries in Black Panther's native country of Wakanda, the metal absorbs any kinetic energy directed at it, rendering it virtually indestructible. Black Panther's claws are made from vibranium, and it's woven into his armored suit as well. (Captain America's shield is also made from a unique vibranium alloy, according to Marvel lore.)
The science: In December 2017, research published in the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology detailed a new kind of lightweight and flexible material that instantly becomes harder than diamond upon any significant impact. A variation of the carbon material known as graphene, the material combines two adjoining layers of flexible carbon, each one atom in thickness. When deformed by ballistic energy or any sudden outside pressure -- a bullet, say -- the layers snap together to become rigid and virtually impenetrable.