Aluminum is Either Magnetic or Nonmagnetic – Which is it?

• Post By: Brandon M. Fox  • Updated: 03/02/22
• Welding » Magnet

Aluminum is a ubiquitous and valuable metal for industries. It got over a hundred uses. But is aluminum magnetic or nonmagnetic? Today we will try to find out exactly this.

However, before we try to find whether it is magnetic or not, we need to understand what aluminum is precise.

It is a silvery-white metal that is the 13th element in the periodic table and the most abundant metal on Earth, accounting for more than 8% of the planet’s mass. Aluminum compounds may be found in many types of clay, although bauxite is the most suitable resource for pure manufacturing aluminum.

Now let’s get to business…

Aluminum is paramagnetic, meaning it has a similar composition to ferromagnetic materials. In the half-filled energy orbitals of paramagnetic materials, there are lone electrons. Many dipoles in these substances are not aligned with the direction of the main magnetic field.

To put it another way, paramagnetic elements like aluminum act like weak magnets. When paramagnetic materials are subjected to permanent magnets, they are weakly attracted. However, when the external magnetic field is removed, they return to diamagnetism.

Furthermore, they lose their magnetic characteristics when they are subjected to intense heat.

So, to conclude, we can say that aluminum is not magnetic under standard conditions. But, when magnets interact with aluminum and significant magnetic fields are present, aluminum can act as a magnetic material.

aluminum
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Aluminum: The utility metal with endless uses

When it comes to the uses, the list goes on and on. They have over 100’s of uses as we mentioned before. Below we will see some of the most common uses of aluminum in daily lives.

  • Airplane parts: It has three outstanding features that make it particularly helpful in the aircraft industry: high strength-to-weight ratio, great flexibility, and excellent corrosion resistance. Because aluminum has equal strength to steel while weighing a quarter of the weight, it has high usage in airplane structure to increase cargo and passenger capacity while also improving fuel economy.
  • Trains: Using aluminum instead of steel in railway components has several advantages: it is easier to manufacture and has higher efficiency. The aluminum alloys employed in these high-speed rail carriages have a lower density than steel but equivalent strength and good corrosion resistance that aids maintenance.                                                                                     
  • Ships: It is a light and sturdy material that works well for boats, especially those that carry a lot of cargo. Hence, there can be more loaded weight in the form of products, people, or fuel due to this. There is also usage in the construction of yachts, speedboats, undersea vessels, tankers, and huge ships.
  • Spacecraft: The progress of aluminum alloys is intimately linked to the advancement of spacecraft and rocket technologies. Spacecraft windows are made of aluminum oxynitride. You will be surprised to know that spaceship engine covers are also built from aluminum to keep the engine cool.
  • Welding: Aluminum is also used for welding. The heat conductivity of aluminum is relatively high. The heat is constantly being drawn away from the welding region by the cool sections of the metal. This makes the weld difficult to penetrate. (Learn more about welding magnet).

The other most common usage includes usage in cars, household appliances, industrial machinery, electronics, and many more uncountable uses.

Find out if your aluminum is magnetic?

Stick a magnet to your piece of metal to see whether it is magnetic. Your metal may be cast iron or steel if it clings to the magnet. Your metal might be copper, brass, solver, or aluminum if it doesn’t attach to the magnet.

Although a sheet of aluminum will not be attracted to a magnet, you may see colors of magnetism when you put a robust, high-quality magnet down a thick aluminum pipe.

Even if your aluminum is magnetic, it will attract the magnet but, unlike other magnetic metals, will leave it in a fraction of a second. A noticeable gradual decline of the magnet characterizes the colors.

Making aluminum magnetic: is it possible?

No, you cannot. It is not magnetic without a trace of an outer magnetic field. Yet when there is presence of magnetic field, it turns out to be “marginally” attractive as its electrons adjust to the attractive field.

However, due to thermal motion as described by vintage, the alignment of the electrons within the material is randomly assigned, and its net magnetic force cancels out, making it nonmagnetic.

Hence, as a result, no matter how much you try, aluminum will again become nonmagnetic. Nevertheless, you can turn aluminum into a weak electrical magnet if you want to.

All you need to do is twist electrical wires around your aluminum sheet or piece and flow electric current through the wire. As you flow electric current through the wire, the aluminum sheet will conduct electricity due to its metallic properties. This led current is called induced current, and there will be a magnetic field around the sheet.

Now you have an induced magnet or an electrical magnet of aluminum.

Conclusion

Is aluminum magnetic or nonmagnetic? The short and simple answer is that aluminum is nonmagnetic and is paramagnetic. However, regardless of its magnetic and nonmagnetic properties, aluminum is an instrumental and necessary metal in industries like aviation, welding, and many more.

Hence, today we tried to clear the confusion of our readers who thinks aluminum is magnetic as it sometimes has a slight attraction towards very heavy magnets. But it’s all due to its paramagnetic properties.

Brandon M. Fox

I have completed Diploma at Welding. I have spent 10+ years in Welding. Now love to write about welding and welding products and share my own experiences. Find me: Twitter | Facebook

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