Depending on the project and application, magnetic and non-magnetic metals provide a host of beneficial advantages. Magnetic metals are commonly used in electronic products such as appliances, smartphones, and audio equipment requiring magnetic circuitry to perform specific tasks. A few different types of magnetism are found in nature; these include ferromagnetic, diamagnetic, and paramagnetic structures, each of which provides its exclusive properties and features.
How Does a Metal’s Magnetism Work?
Like most things found in nature, a metal’s magnetism is derived from the electrons found within its core. The uneven distribution of these electrons creates magnetic dipoles created through the back and forth shifting of an atom’s charge. When the dipoles align, localized magnetic areas are created. If the localized magnetic regions point in the same direction, magnetic fields are completed.
Types of Magnetism
Magnetism is divided into three unique subgroups: ferromagnetic, diamagnetic, and paramagnetic. These magnetic groupings have different properties, displaying exclusive features and beneficial qualities.
Ferromagnetic materials are what are generally referred to as magnetic. Due to magnetic domains, ferromagnetic materials are strongly attracted to magnets and maintain this magnetism even when a magnet isn’t nearby.
Paramagnetic materials aren’t magnetic under normal circumstances, but they can interact with magnets. Small electrical currents form near a paramagnetic material’s surface, resulting in small interactions between the magnet and the paramagnetic materials.
Diamagnetic materials are not magnetic; however, they interact with magnets by repelling magnetic fields. Diamagnetic properties fade away once the magnet is removed.
Which Category of Materials is Truly Magnetic?
While magnets strongly attract ferromagnetic metals, they only weakly attract paramagnetic metals. On the other hand, diamagnetic materials show a weak repulsion when placed near a magnet. Only ferromagnetic metals are considered genuinely magnetic.
Several materials display magnetic properties. Some of these materials are fully magnetic, while others, such as stainless steel, provide magnetic properties within specific alloy grades. The following list of metals is listed from most magnetic to least magnetic:
There are very few metals within the periodic table that do not have at least a small amount of magnetism associated with them. Non-magnetic metals may not attract other metals, but they offer many other beneficial features. Additionally, some projects may require a metal that does not contain magnetic properties. Some of the most common non-magnetic metals include:
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