Q:

What metals are magnetic?

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Quick Answer

Nickel, iron and cobalt are magnetic metals. Most other metals, including gold, copper, silver and magnesium, are generally not magnetic, although some of these metals might become slightly magnetic if placed in a magnetic field.

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What metals are magnetic?
Credit: Casey Fleser CC-BY-2.0

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Magnets are created by heating a suitable metal enough to exceed the material’s Curie temperature. This aligns the small magnetic fields produced by the material, enabling them to work together. Over time, these individual magnetic fields, called domains, fall out of alignment, causing a magnet to demagnetize. Scientists can also make electromagnets by passing electric currents through coils of wire surrounding a metal object, such as a nail. This principle is used in most engines and turbines and during the production of electricity. Not all magnets are man-made, and some are naturally occurring. For example, the mineral lodestone is magnetic. One of the first magnetic substances discovered, lodestone was used to create early compasses.

The Earth’s magnetic field is produced by the movements of the inner core. Scientists believe that the core is composed primarily of iron and nickel, which are both magnetic. This magnetic field is what causes the needle of a compass to point north. Additionally, the planet’s magnetic field deflects the charged particles that stream from the Sun.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a list of magnetic metals?

    A:

    A list of magnetic metals includes iron, nickel, cobalt and metal mixtures that include at least one of the three. Magnetic metals are classified as metals that are attracted by the magnetic field.

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  • Q:

    Can metals be non-magnetic?

    A:

    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.

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  • Q:

    Can you give me a list of all the magnetic metals?

    A:

    Iron, nickel, cobalt and manganese are the only four metals considered magnetic. All other metals, including gold, silver and aluminum, are typically considered non-magnetic, although there are some elements that may show a slight positive or negative attraction when placed in a magnetic field.

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  • Q:

    What is the principle of an electromagnetic crane?

    A:

    The principle of an electromagnetic crane is to allow for the lifting and transporting of metals using a strong magnetic force. Instead of using claws or pincers, the special crane uses a large flat magnet to pick up metallic materials.

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