Luna Titanium (ルナチタニウム Runa Chitaniumu ?) (later renamed Gundarium (ガンダリウム Gandariumu?)) is a fictional substance from the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series used to construct the famous RX-78-2 Gundam. A unique compound which can only be produced in the zero-gravity conditions of space. In addition to its incredible strength, Gundanium alloy is electrically nonconductive and cannot be detected by radar. However, this material is expensive and difficult to manufacture, making it unfeasible for mass production. When the Earth Federation designed the RX-78 series of mobile suits, they also wanted a material that was strong, lightweight and durable for is construction; at that time they did not possess an adequate number of facilities to effect very-large-scale production and maintenance. Titanium isn't considered ideal as it becomes brittle if subjected to large amounts of stress over time as well as being slightly more complicated to work and weld when compared to other alloys like Steel, prompting the engineers to develop a new lightweight alloy that eventually came into being U.C. 0064, known as Luna titanium.
Gundarium α (Alpha) is the first of three reproduced Luna Titanium alloy variants developed at Axis and in secret by the Anaheim Electronics company. It was known to have been used in the construction of the MSA-003 Nemo. This alloy is essentially an exact reproduction of the original Luna Titanium alloy used in the V Project prototypes.
Gundarium β (Beta) is the second of three reproduced Luna Titanium alloy variants developed at Axis. It represents the intermediate stage of development between Gundarium α and Gundarium γ (Gamma).
Gundarium γ (Gamma) is the third of three reproduced Luna Titanium alloy variants developed at Axis. Introduced in U.C. 0087, it was lightweight and featured excellent durability, making it widely adopted on second generation mobile suits used in the Gryps Conflict. The introduction of Gundarium γ also presented technological advances in MS development, including the mass production of transformable (variable) mobile weapons was also realized.
Gundarium ε (Epsilon). Developed by Anaheim Electronics, it was essential in the construction of the Epsy Gundam, which used a nuclear pulse propulsion system.
Gundarium Alloy/Ceramic Composite
Introduced in the U.C. 120s following the progress in the miniaturization of mobile suits. This material added a ceramic composite material similar to the earlier armor's used on mobile suit's during the mid to late UC 0080's and UC 0090's. With the advent of miniaturized mobile suits in the early U.C. 0100's, mass production mobile suits such as the RGM-109 Heavygun could be made out of Gundarium without costing too much as the same amount of materials used in construction of larger older design mobile suits could be used in building more than one of the newer, smaller design style mobile suits for the same price. Unfortunately, the hybridization of Gundarium and Ceramic composites degraded the protective qualities of Gundarium. And combined with the thinner armor on the miniturized mobile suits, meant that while mass production mobile suits were armored with Gundarium for the first time instead of a cheaper Titanium/Ceramic based composite; they were more vulnerable to physical attacks, whereas the older, prototype mobile suits (with thicker armor) armored with purely Gundarium were almost impervious to attacks that would severely damage or destroy the newer smaller generation of mobile suits.
The Luna Titanium armored RX-78-2 Gundam was almost unstoppable in combat, 120mm and 90mm shells fired from the Zaku's machine guns having almost no effect on it. Physical attacks such as blunt force had little affect as well. During a fight with the Gundam on Luna II, Zeon pilot Char Aznable said that he "hadn't seen a mobile suit that could survive the beating I'm giving it" despite the fact that he had knocked the machine around using melee techniques.
The alloy had some degree of resilience against mega particle weapons as well; following a duel with Zeon's Zeong at A Baoa Qu, the Gundam was shown to only have lost its head, left arm, and later part of its right leg but otherwise showed little damage. Another similar case was during the events of Char's Counterattack, in this instance Char's Sazabi was struck by a beam weapon in it's midsection only chipping off a few tiny pieces as a result.
Lightweight; the Gundam was taller than the Zeon Zaku by about a meter, but the shorter Zeon mobile suit weighed slightly more than the Gundam.
Durable; projectile weapons could only scratch the alloy, which proved to be a disadvantage as most Zeon mobile suits were only equipped with machine guns or 280mm bazooka's. (The 360mm Bazooka used by the MS-09 Dom had the ability to do moderate damage due to the large explosive charge but the shells could easily be evaded at long range.)
Despite its effective qualities, Luna Titanium alloy was plagued by several problems:
Expensive; the RGM-79 GM couldn't be made from this armor because it required a long time to refine and extract the ore, which made it impractical for mass production. And even though the mass produced ground combat RX-79 Gundam were armored with Luna titanium alloy, it was only in the vital areas that this durable alloy could be found.
Repairs; the unique durability of this alloy troubled Federation mechanics as much as Zeon troops since expedient repairs that involve first steps such as cutting open or welding external armour plating proved impossible using equipment readily available in the field. In effect, the White Base, Jaburo and Luna II were the only locations that had the facilities required to repair and maintain the V Project prototypes.