Magnetic Metals And Non-magnetic Metals

Table of Contents

Magnetism is a physical phenomenon produced when an electric charge is in motion resulting in attraction and repulsion force between objects. Due to their ability to attract or rebel, they have a wide range of use in modern technology. To understand this, one has to know how to know which metals are magnetic and which ones are not magnetic.

Magnetic Metals.

These are metals that produce a magnetic field when magnetized. Metals that can be magnetized are knowns as ferromagnetic. These metals are usually not magnetic in their natural state, but they will be attracted to objects which produce magnetic fields. When magnetized, they become magnets.

· Iron

Iron is the most known ferromagnetic metal. It has unpaired electrons that can be lined up with another unpaired electron of the adjacent atom hence the result will make Iron magnetic. Iron is among the well-known metals used to make permanent magnets. It forms an integral part of the earth’s core and conveys its magnetic properties to our planet. That is why it acts as a permanent magnet on its own.

· Nickel

Nickel is also a famous magnetic with ferromagnetic properties. It has parallel alignments of its two unpaired electrons that rotates in the presence of an external magnetic field. It has compounds in the earth’s core. Nickel has been used in alloying, making coins, coating, batteries, kitchen wires, and armor plating.

· Cobalt

Cobalt is also another ferromagnetic metal. It has unpaired electrons that retain its magnetic properties. Hence, these properties make it a magnetic material. Its located on the earth’s crust in a chemically combined form. For a long time, it is still used because of its excellent properties, used in the preparation of batteries, as catalysts, etc.

· Steel

Steel is a magnetic alloy made up of Iron with attached carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance compared to other forms of Iron. It has its atoms naturally positioned hence highly effective in magnetism. Most steel will be attracted to a magnet because it is made of ferromagnetic material.

· Stainless steel

We have two grades of stainless steel. Ferritic stainless steel and martensitic stainless steel. The martensitic stainless steel category types of stainless steel that are magnetic. Martensitic stainless steel can have a ferromagnetic crystal structure if Iron is present. Some stainless steel is magnetic, while others are not magnetic. Ferritic stainless steel is generally magnetic, while austenitic stainless steel is not. Therefore, stainless steel has a variety of use. It is used in surgical implants, Hemostats, Surgical tools, medical equipment, etc.

· Rare Earth Metals

Rare earth metals are a set of 17 metallic elements (lanthanides). They include; praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, cesium, potassium, barium, gadolinium, etc. Some of these metals have unusual magnetic because the orbital electron structure of these elements contains many unpaired electrons. Rare earth metals can store large amounts of magnetic energy. These magnets are rare and expensive to access.

Non-magnetic Metals

These are metals that are not attracted by a magnet. They do not have any impact on the magnetic field. Most metals do not show any influence when exposed to a magnetic field. Well-known metals such as Gold and Silver are not magnetic. Platinum is generally known to be non-magnetic depending on what other metal is aligned with magnetic in jewelry. Therefore, non-magnetic metals can not be magnetized.

· Aluminum

Aluminum is a chemical element that is not magnetic under normal circumstances due to its crystal structure. It falls in the paramagnetic class along with other metals like magnesium. Paramagnetism is a weak magnetic effect. Therefore, aluminum cannot be magnetized. In rare cases, when exposed to a strong magnetic field, it can be slightly magnetized.

· Gold

Gold is a diamagnetic metal like other metals in that it can be repelled by a magnetic field but cannot form a permanent magnet. Pure gold is not magnetic, but if mixed with other materials can be magnetic. Therefore, in some cases, the magnetism of gold alloy mostly depends on the alloy it is mixed with. Weak magnetic fields do not attract gold, but an immense magnetic field can make it slightly magnetic.

· Silver

Silver falls under a list of precious non-metals. This is because silver and other metals like copper are referred to as Weak metals and hence said to be diamagnetic in their natural state. Adding iron steel to these metals can make them stronger and more magnetic. This property helps to distinguish pure silver from fake. Pure silver can’t be attracted to any magnetic field.

· Copper

Pure copper is diamagnetic. It is not magnetic because it has no unpaired electrons. When magnets approach copper, the electrons on its surface start revolving. The electrons briefly create their magnetic field, which makes them resist the magnetic pull. But, if it interacts with a magnet, this property helps to generate electricity in power plants.

Application Of Magnetic Metals

· using them in magnets

The process of magnetic isolation involves; isolating components of mixtures by use of a magnet to attract magnetic materials. These magnets come with specific properties necessary for a wide range of applications. It is used in data on audio and video tape and computer disk. They are also used in body scanners with other applications where they are attached to the body, etc.

· Making electrical currents with them in transformers

Metals such as copper and aluminum have loosely held electrons. Moving a magnet around a coil of wire or vice versa pushes electrons in the wire and creates an electrical current. Transformers have a pair of windings that functions by application of Faraday’s Law. Transformers use ferromagnetic material with high permeability so that it may show a high volume of magnetic induction. The rule of the magnetic core in transformers is to increase and concentrate the magnetic flux that links the primary and secondary coils.


Electric motors generate magnetic fields with electric current through a coil that can rotate in a magnetic field. Real Motors use the same assumption, but their configuration is usually complicated. Most electric motors are made from Ceramic Neodymium (NdFeB) or Samarium cobalt (SmCo) magnets.


Copper is the common-magnet wire used due to its high conductivity and relatively low cost. In some applications, the magnetic field of a generator may be provided by permanent magnets. Electric generators use electromagnetic initiation to change kinetic energy to electrical energy to produce electricity in power plants.

Related FAQ

Can a magnet attract steel? -Yes, magnets can attract steel because its magnetic contains large quantities of ferrite in its chemical composition is a compound of Iron and additional elements.

Will a magnet stick to brass?-NO Brass, in its natural state, does not attract magnets because it is a Weak metal. However, properties including Iron and Steel can be added to make it magnetic.

Will a magnet attract silver? -No. Pure silver is a non-magnetic metal as it shows only weak magnetic effects. Impure silver, when mixed with a ferromagnetic metal, they become magnetic. Hence, only pure silver is non-magnetic.

Can a magnet attract gold? –No. Pure gold is not attracted to a magnet because gold is not a magnet, but when the immense magnetic field is applied, gold becomes slightly attracted to it.

How does a magnet attract Iron? – Iron is a diamagnetic metal. Once exposed to the magnetic field, the atoms begin to align their electrons with the flow of the magnetic field. The magnet attracts Iron.

How to tell if something is magnetic without a magnet?

  1. Use a compass: A compass is a device that uses a small magnet to determine the direction of the earth’s magnetic field. If you place a compass near the object in question, the needle will move if the object is magnetic.
  2. Use a metal detector: A metal detector is a device that uses a magnet to detect the presence of metal. If the object in question is magnetic, it will trigger the metal detector.
  3. Use electrostatics: Some materials, such as aluminum, can be charged with static electricity using triboelectric charging. If you rub the object in question with a material that can hold a charge, such as wool cloth, and then bring it near a charged object, such as a charged balloon, the object will be attracted if it is magnetic.
  4. Use a Gauss meter: A Gauss meter is a device that measures the strength of a magnetic field. If the object in question is magnetic, it will produce a measurable magnetic field that can be detected with a Gauss meter.
  5. Use a galvanometer: A galvanometer is a device that measures small electric currents. If the object in question is magnetic, it will produce a small electric current when placed in a changing magnetic field. This current can be measured with a galvanometer.
  6. Use an oscilloscope: An oscilloscope is a device that measures and displays electrical signals. If the object in question is magnetic, it will produce a small electrical signal when placed in a changing magnetic field. This signal can be measured and displayed on an oscilloscope.

Magnet is a metal or a non-metal?-magnets are made of ferromagnetic metals. These metals can be magnetized uniformly. Therefore, a magnet is a metal.

Magnet is a conductor or insulator?-magnets are made of conducting material like Iron and Nickel. Therefore, they are conductors.


In conclusion, magnetic metals are materials that can be magnetized and are generally made of iron, nickel, or cobalt. These metals have several practical applications in various industries and are also used in various consumer products. Non-magnetic metals, on the other hand, are materials that are not attracted to a magnet and are generally not made up of iron, nickel, or cobalt. These metals also have many practical applications and are used in a variety of consumer products. It is important to note that the magnetism of a metal can be affected by the temperature and the presence of other elements in the metal.


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