Meridium was a synthetic metal invented in YE 35 by NAM scientists. It was allegedly dreamt up by NAM scientist, Dr. Alexis Meridian, when she was sailing with her boyfriend. When she submitted her proposal for the idea, she was given the go-ahead to give it a shot.
The process involved taking basic Durandium Alloy, infusing it with carbon and then super-heating the carbon to harden it into diamond-like hardness. The initial tests showed that areas where there was a lot of the super-hard carbon mixed with the durandium were very resistant to plasma energy attacks and slightly less so against high-velocity kinetic rounds. However, the method for creating meridium at this stage resulted in an uneven spread of the super-hard carbon.
To resolve this, a new creation method was devised. Instead of using large durandium plates as the base, sheets of duradium were layered between sheets of super-hard carbon. Each layer is stacked atop the other until there are five of each. The stack is then pressure-heated until the bonds between the layers stick together on an atomic level to create a one-inch thick plate. This new method resulted in a much better and more even spread of the super-hard carbon. NAM scientists and engineers were full of praise for the pioneering Dr. Meridian, naming the new armor material after her.
While inch-thick plates are relatively insignificant against armor or starship grade weaponry, their lightweight and cheap price allows multiple plates to be stacked upon each other and compressed further to create larger plates. This allows for flexible and more effective plating options.