Can Metals Be Non-Magnetic?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 25, 2020 10:38:01 PM ET

Magnetism occurs when iron is present in metals, so metals can be non-magnetic when they don't contain iron. Although some metals are not magnetic, they still hold the properties of metal and are considered as such.


Non-magnetic metals, or non-ferrous metals, are metals that do not have an appreciable amount of iron in their composition. These metals can be pure metals or combinations of metals, such as gold, aluminum, beryllium, led, magnesium, nickel, platinum, zinc and copper. While people usually associate metals with being magnetic, only metals with iron in their composition are classified as magnetic. Non-ferrous metals are usually more expensive than their ferrous (or iron-based) counterparts. Properties of non-ferrous metals and alloys include high conductivity, lower weight, higher strength, resistance to corrosion and resistance to rust. Even though the non-ferrous metals have no iron, they can still be found as alloys and still be non-ferrous, such as brass. In fact, the first metals used for metallurgy by ancient humans were non-ferrous as they were resistant to the effects of oxygen and can be found in rock outcroppings around the world. Depending on their use, current non-ferrous metals are cast, and then cold or hot wrought by using the rolling, forging or extrusion methods. These metals can be found in everyday applications, such as building materials, electronics, aerospace and household appliances.