Howard believed it to be the key to limitless, renewable, clean energy. However, limited by the technology of his time, Howard was unable to create the element for himself and instead left the blueprints for the element hidden in a model of the Stark Expo fairgrounds for his son Tony to discover later.
Tony's design of the Arc Reactor in his chest required a heavy element such as Palladium to keep it running. Unfortunately, palladium was continuously eroded by the neutron bombardment, and released deadly poisons into Tony's body.
Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s intervention temporarily reversed some of the palladium poisoning symptoms allowing Tony to discover his father's design for a new element to replace the palladium. Building a small particle accelerator in his garage, Tony was finally able to create a New Element that met his needs, and in turn created a new armor suit to utilize the new power. Tony later tried to get it patented as "Badassium", but ran into too many legal issues.
- In the Iron Man 2 novelization , the New Element created by Tony Stark to replace Palladium in the arc reactor is called Vibranium. This information would later be invalidated by Captain America: The First Avenger, where Vibranium is shown as a rare metal already existing in the 1940s.
- According to Tony, the New Element replacement Arc Reactor core tastes like "coconut and metal".