Do all metals respond to magnets? why?

Do all metals respond to magnets? why?

Question by rosari m: do all metals respond to magnets? why?

Best answer:
Answer by Ferris
There is not a simple answer. For a metal (or any other substance) to be magnetic, it must have electron spin. This gives the substance an electronic angular momentum to interact with the magnetic field. Some metals, like the lanthanides, consistently have unpaired electrons due to the Pauli Exclusion Principle, and so are typically strongly magnetic. But other metals may be magnetic or not magnetic depending upon what substance they are found. Alloys made of nominally magnetic metals such as Fe and Ni may become non-magnetic in certain alloys grouped together as "stainless steel".


In addition, the term "magnetic" is not very precise. Some substances become "magnetic" in the presence of a magnetic field, but are not magnetic in the absence of a magnetic field. These are called "paramagnetic". Other substances form "permanent" magnets and have their own intrinsic magnetic field. These are called "ferromagnetic" materials because iron metal is the "typical" example. Yet other substances have a structure in which some of the electrons point in one direction and another layer of domain point in the opposite direction. These more complex structures are called "antiferromagnetic". A further complication is that the magnetic behavior depends upon the temperature. So at low temperature a substance may have one kind of magnetic properties but at a higher temperature may have another type of magnetic behavior.

The bottom line is that the magnetic properties of a substance is complicated, and it is hard to assign metals as being strictly magnetic and others to be strictly non-magnetic.

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