What Metals Are Attracted to Magnets?

Jared Tarbell/CC-BY 2.0

Metals that are attracted to magnets include iron, nickel and cobalt. The majority of metals are not attracted to magnets, including copper, silver, gold, magnesium, platinum and aluminum. However, the metals that are not attracted to magnets may magnetize slightly when placed in a magnetic field.

Magnetic fields cannot be seen by the naked eye. Materials, such as wood, plastics and glass, are not attracted to magnets. Magnetism is capable of either pulling objects in or pushing them away. Magnets have a north and a south pole. When the same poles of two magnets are near, they push away from each other. When there are two different magnet poles in close proximity, they pull towards each other. It is necessary for magnetic objects to be securely within a magnetic field for responsiveness, explaining why an object sometimes needs to be moved a little closer in order for magnetism to affect an object noticeably.

Scientists claim that Earth’s core consists of a combination of iron and nickel, with the planet having its own magnetic field. Earth’s magnetic field protects the planet from harmful solar wind through deflection. Compasses that are magnetic utilize Earth’s magnetic field to facilitate navigation in different directions.