The phenomenon of magnetism is quite captivating. When you witness a magnet attracting magnetic substances, you might wonder the reason behind it. What is it that makes a substance magnetic and non-magnetic? Are all metals magnetic?
Well, guess what? In comparison to the number of magnetic metals, the number of non-magnetic metals is higher.
How many metals do you think are non-magnetic? In this article, we will be discussing metals that are not magnetic. There can be different magnitudes of strength in magnetism, ranging from very weak to very strong.
The metals mentioned in this article are magnetic in some way but do not exhibit magnetism when placed in front of a permanent magnet. How intriguing could that be? Let’s find out:
Types of Magnetism
Diamagnetic materials consist of atoms that have no magnetic moment. The magnetic susceptibility is low and negative, which ranges from -10-6 to -10-5.
Magnetic susceptibility is the extent to which a material can be magnetized in an external magnetic field.
Materials displaying diamagnetism are weakly repelled by a magnetic field. For instance, gold, copper, and mercury are diamagnetic materials.
When materials are weakly attracted by a strong magnet, they exhibit paramagnetism. The atoms of paramagnetic materials have randomly aligned magnetic moments.
Its magnetic susceptibility is small and negative, which ranges from +10-5 to +10-3. Aluminum is one of the metals that exhibit paramagnetism.
Ferromagnetic materials exhibit magnetism as the strongest. They are strongly attracted by permanent magnets and can even be magnetized. It is because their atoms have parallel aligned magnetic moments and have a large magnetic susceptibility.
Ferromagnetism is exhibited by transition metals iron, cobalt, and nickel.
Atoms that have a mix of parallelly and anti-parallelly aligned magnetic moments exhibit ferrimagnetism. These substances get attracted to magnets and start acting as permanent magnets. Ferrimagnetism has a high magnetic susceptibility.
Antiferromagnetic materials are materials that do not exhibit any properties of magnets and, therefore, are non-magnetic. Chromium is a transition metal that exhibits antiferromagnetism along with many of its compounds.
These substances have anti-parallel magnetic moments.
More examples of antiferromagnetic substances are pure neodymium and manganese oxide.
Metals that are not magnetic
Copper is a metal used by humans for hundreds of years. This metal is diamagnetic, resulting in a low and negative magnetic susceptibility. Thus, making it non-magnetic.
It has become an indispensable element in industrial production. The properties of high thermal conductivity, high electrical conductivity, high ductility, and good corrosion resistance make it vital in industries.
For the manufacturing of heat exchangers and heating vessels, all these properties of copper make it suitable. It is also used as an electrical conductor in wires or motors, for plumbing fittings, etc.
Gold is a metal that exhibits diamagnetism. Its exhibition of diamagnetism is what makes it non-magnetic. It is a precious metal that is highly used today in the field of jewelry.
The metal has properties of ductility, corrosion resistance, and many other chemical reactions. It is said to be the most malleable metal.
Gold is also used in computers for infrared shielding and even for tooth restoration.
Silver is another precious metal that has been utilized for hundreds of years. This metal is non-magnetic as it exhibits diamagnetism. Due to the exhibition of diamagnetism, the atoms of the element have no magnetic moment.
Silver is known for its highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and highest reflectivity of any metal. It is a very soft and malleable metal when it is heated. It is also known for its high corrosion resistance.
Today, in the production of jewelry and currency, it is widely used. It is also utilized to manufacture solar panels and water filters.
Aluminum is a metal that exhibits paramagnetism. It is non-magnetic because of low magnetic susceptibility and randomly oriented magnetic moments. Due to its paramagnetism, it is weakly attracted to a magnetic field.
It has the properties of providing good corrosion resistance, a good conductor of heat and electricity, ductile and malleable.
Today, aluminum has found its use in a wide range of fields. Due to its low weight and inexpensiveness, it is used in aerospace for manufacturing wings and other parts of an airplane. It has also found its use in the manufacture of bicycle frames, saucepans, and drink cans.
Titanium was discovered back in 1791. The reason behind the metal being non-magnetic is its paramagnetism. As mentioned earlier, paramagnetic materials are weakly attracted to magnetic fields.
This metal has the attributes of offering good corrosion resistance and has the highest strength-density ratio. It can be as strong as steel without being alloyed.
It is used in jewelry, surgical tools, prosthetic devices, and manufacturing parts of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and ships.
Platinum is one of the rare elements found on the Earth’s crust. It is highly valued and desired. It is a non-magnetic metal because of its paramagnetic nature. It can be made paramagnetic by forming alloys with other metals.
This transition metal is used in pacemakers, catalytic convertors, and jewelry. It is very soft and malleable, allowing it to take any shape.
Its ductility allows it to stretch into wires. As it is unreactive, it is immune to oxidization and is not affected by common acids.
Lead is a diamagnetic metal that weakly repels the magnetic field. Its magnetic susceptibility is so less that there is no response visible to the naked eye.
It is a bluish-white metal that has luster. It is vital for the production of lead-acid batteries. During the process of electrolysis, lead is sometimes used as an electrode.
Lead is harmful to us and our internal organs. It can even hamper the growth of the brain and other organs of children.
Bismuth is a pentavalent post-transition metal. It is non-magnetic because it has the nature of diamagnetism. Atoms of bismuth have no magnetic moment and have negative magnetic susceptibility.
It is said to have low electrical conductivity and high resistance to electricity when placed in a magnetic field.
This metal has the properties of being hard, lustrous, brittle, and coarsely crystalline. All these properties find their use in cosmetic products like lipsticks, nail polish, pearly powders that shine, etc. it is also used as a replacement for lead in bullets.
Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal and is considered one of the most abundant elements on Earth. This metal is paramagnetic, i.e., it is weakly attracted to a magnetic field.
This metal is used in the manufacturing of sparklers, flares, and fireworks. It is because magnesium ignites easily with a bright light.
This metal is one of the elements present in chlorophyll. If this metal didn’t exist, then life on Earth couldn’t have been known, as it is chlorophyll that allows plants to capture sunlight and live.
Molybdenum is also a paramagnetic metal that makes it non-magnetic. It is a silvery-white metal with one of the highest melting points among all pure elements.
This metal is found in ores- molybdenite, wulfenite, and powellite. It is primarily mined in the United States, China, Peru, and Chile. It is an essential micronutrient in our body, although too much of this element is toxic for our body.
Tantalum is non-magnetic, which can be explained by its paramagnetism. Its atoms have randomly oriented magnetic moments. It has a molar magnetic susceptibility of +154 X 10-6 cm3/ mol.
It has unique characteristics of being stable and immune to chemical degradation up to the temperature of 159 degrees Centigrade.
Tin exhibits both paramagnetism and diamagnetism. It just depends on the type of tin. While white tin exhibits paramagnetism, gray tin exhibits diamagnetism.
Tin is an essential element that is time and again seen in tin cans. Besides its use in producing tin cans, tin is used for plating iron to protect it from corrosion.
Lithium is an alkali metal. It has the nature of paramagnetism. It is a soft, white, and lustrous metal with a molar magnetic susceptibility of +14.2 X 10-6cm3/mol.
Lithium is crucial in metallurgy as it helps in removing impurities from metals.
Sodium is another metal with the nature of paramagnetism. It is a soft metal that has a molar magnetic susceptibility of +16 X 10-6cm3/mol.
It finds its use in nuclear reactors and as reagents in chemical industries.
Potassium is non-magnetic because of its paramagnetism and molar magnetic susceptibility of +20.8 X 10-6 cm3/mol.
It is a soft metal with a low melting point. It has little commercial demand.
Rubidium is paramagnetic with a molar magnetic susceptibility of +17X 10-6cm3/mol. The metal ignites immediately when it is exposed to air and reacts violently with water.
Rubidium is used in vacuum tubes, photocells, and vapor turbines.
Cesium is also a paramagnetic metal with low magnetic susceptibility. It is highly accurate at timekeeping and is, thus, used in atomic clocks. Along with mercury, gallium, and francium, sodium is one of the metals that turns into liquid at room temperature.
Francium is a radioactive metal which too exhibits paramagnetism and is non-magnetic. As it is a volatile and rare element, it has no commercial applications.
Manganese is the fifth most abundant element. This metal is also paramagnetic with a molar magnetic susceptibility of +529 X 10-6cm3/mol. Manganese is an essential metal used for the manufacturing of steel.
In this article, we’ve learned about different types of magnetism, as well as the logic behind the non-magnetic nature of some metals. While some metals are attracted to magnets, others are not.
We’ve also realized that all the alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, francium) are non-magnetic.