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Will a magnet stick to aluminum?

Magnets attract different types of metals, but some metals do not. For example, when thinking of gold, do you think they stick? Most would answer no, and that’s right! But, most people know this because gold is regularly mentioned in the market, and magnets are used to segregate gold from other metals during mining. But, with other metals like aluminum, do you think they stick to magnets? Find it out here!

What are magnets, and how do they work?

Let’s start with magnets and how they function! Atoms are the tiniest building components of matter. Every atom contains electrons, which are charged particles. The electrons that make up an atom’s nucleus, or core, spin like tops. Because of their mobility, electrons function like small magnets, producing an electric current. Magnetism is caused by moving electric charges. Magnetism is the force that magnets exert when they attract or repel one another. However, unlike electric field lines, their directionality does not extend straight from the source.

There are north and south poles on every magnet. The same poles resist, whereas opposite poles are drawn to one another. The north-seeking poles of the iron’s atoms line up in the same direction when rubbed against a magnet. So, a magnetic field is produced by the force that the aligned atoms produce.

What are magnets made of?

A class of metals known as ferromagnetic metals is used to create magnets. Some examples of these metals include nickel, iron, and cobalt. These kinds of metals are exceptional in that they can be evenly magnetized. Other metals that may be magnetic include certain alloys from the rare earth group of elements.

Magnets can then be categorized into three which are:

  • Permanent Magnets
  • Temporary Magnets
  • Electromagnets

The main difference between the three is their remanence and how they conduct magnetism. Permanent magnets are magnets that produce their magnetic field. They are also usually called hard magnets and have strong remanence values. Neodymium magnets have the strongest magnetic characteristics among permanent magnets and are good examples of hard permanent magnets. Magnets with little remanence are ‘soft’ magnets. Their magnetic fields are reversible, and they may be easily magnetized and demagnetized. They are not able to produce or hold their magnetic field. Iron is a great example of a soft magnet. Iron is easily attracted and removed to the point that it may be dusted or flicked away from the magnetic area.

An electromagnet has an entirely different mechanism. An electromagnet is formed by winding a wire around a ferromagnetic substance and passing an electrical current through it. This sort of magnet only generates a magnetic field while the electricity is turned on. You can generate an electrical current by rotating a magnet through a coiled wire. An electric current can magnetize certain materials. A magnetic field results from the flow of electricity through a coil of wire. But as soon as the electric current is cut off, the field around the coil will vanish. This interaction is reversible or reciprocal as well.

Where are they usually used?

Permanent magnets are most commonly found in the manufacturing, electronics, and automotive industries. They are used in electrical devices like hard disk drives, audio and video equipment, computers, and cell phones. These magnets, such as anti-lock braking systems, are also essential in motors and electric cars. In the manufacturing industry, they are used to make on-off switches, magnetic separators, filters, generators, and even safety and security systems.

Temporary magnets are usually used in lightweight and small materials like nails, paperclips, bolts, screws, and kitchen utensils. These magnets are best suited for usage when temporary magnetization is required.

Electric motors and generators frequently employ electromagnets. They are both based on the scientific theory of electromagnetic induction, established by physicist Michael Faraday in 1831, which states that a flowing electric current creates a magnetic field and vice versa. The electric current in an electric motor creates a magnetic field that propels the motor. An external force, such as wind, running water, or steam, turns a shaft in a generator, which drives a set of magnets around a coiled wire, creating an electric current.

Now that we know what magnets are, what’s aluminum?

Aluminum is the 13th periodic table element and silvery-white metal. One startling statistic about aluminum is that it is the most common metal on the planet, accounting for more than 8% of the Earth’s core mass. It is also the third most abundant chemical element on Earth, behind oxygen and silicon.

Pure aluminum, however, does not exist in nature since it quickly bonds with other elements. This is why it was only later that people became aware of it. Formally, aluminum was created for the first time in 1824, but it took another fifty years for humans to understand how to make it on a large scale.

Aluminum sulfates are the most frequent type of aluminum found in nature. These are minerals formed by combining two sulphuric acids: one based on an alkaline metal (lithium, sodium, potassium rubidium, or cesium) and one based on metal from the periodic table’s third group, mainly aluminum. Aluminum, by the way, was named after aluminum sulfates, which were known as alumni in Latin.

Because aluminum is not exceptionally strong, it is frequently utilized as an alloy. It has a low density, is non-toxic, has good thermal conductivity, is corrosion resistant, and can be cast, machined, and shaped easily. It is also non-magnetic and does not ignite. It is the second most malleable and sixth most ductile metal. They are crucial in the design of airplanes and other modes of transportation. Aluminum sulfates are still used to purify water and cook in medicine, cosmetics, the chemical industry, and other industries. Aluminum is also a good electrical conductor frequently used in transmission lines. It is less expensive than copper, and weight for weight, is nearly twice as good a conductor.

Will a magnet stick to aluminum?

Aluminum does not stick nor attract magnets. Many common metals are not ferromagnetic, including copper, brass, gold, silver, titanium, tungsten, and lead. They can’t be formed into magnets and aren’t drawn to magnetic fields. A sheet of metal may not be attracted to a refrigerator magnet due to the intensity of its field, but its magnetism may be seen when high-quality magnets are hurled down thick aluminum pipes. Aluminum is a classic example of what we call a paramagnet.

The composition of paramagnetic compounds is quite similar to that of ferromagnetic materials. They have unpaired electrons in their partially filled energy orbitals, but the main distinction is that not all of their dipoles align with the applied magnetic field. Misaligned dipoles impede the magnetic fields produced by aligned dipoles. Because of this characteristic, paramagnetic materials favor external magnetic fields, but only to a certain extent. Explained that they act like a weak magnets. These materials are weakly attracted to permanent magnets and return to diamagnetism as soon as the external field is removed.

The difference in dipole alignment is generated by the triumph of randomized thermal energy over freshly met magnetic energy. We know this because paramagnetic compounds mimic strong magnets at lower temperatures. Curie’s Law governs the link between temperature and the magnetic characteristics of a paramagnetic substance. Every speck of a material’s magnetic prowess is obliterated at a very high temperature known as Curie’s. This effect is also found in ferromagnetic materials.

However, Oscar Cespedes of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom has devised a groundbreaking new technology that has converted copper and manganese into magnets. Cespedes and his colleagues created copper and manganese coatings on carbon structures known as Buckyballs. The films preserved 10% of the magnetic field when an external magnetic field was introduced and withdrawn. This new method is expected to give a more biocompatible and ecologically friendly method of producing MRI devices.

Nevertheless, aluminum cannot be used alongside magnets if its main purpose is attraction or holding.

Conclusion

Magnets are very complex matters that are both naturally occurring and have also been a point of advancement. It is important to understand how metals and magnets work (or do not work) together, especially if used in heavy machinery. Making sure that you have a good supplier is one way of ensuring functionality, safety, and progression. ROBO Magnetic is a magnet supplier that has many services and products. You may check them out at robomagnetic.com.

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Article by

ROBO Magnetic Product Team

We are the manufacturer with 16 years of experience in custom neodymium magnets.

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