Will a Magnet Stick to Aluminum?

Chad Kainz/CC-BY 2.0

Under normal circumstances, a common magnet does not stick to aluminum. Under the right conditions, however, it is possible to get a strong magnet to interact with aluminum, though never to the extent that it works with ferrous metals.

Any electrically conductive metal can be affected by a strong magnet, though nonferrous metals are not magnetic in themselves. One way to influence normally nonmagnetic aluminum is to induce an electric current to flow through it. If the aluminum is twisted into a coil, and a powerful permanent magnet is passed through it, the oscillations of the magnetic field can induce an electric current in the aluminum. This field has a polarity of its own, and can be made to attract or repel the stronger magnet driving the process.