Aluminum is a very popular metal on earth, however, is aluminum a magnetic material? Magnetism and electricity are part of the fundamental forces that explain various occurrences in the world. Aluminum is a material that will not easily be associated with a magnet.
However, it is not far behind in conducting heat and electricity compared to other metals like iron. So, why isn’t aluminum metal attracted to a magnet like iron does? In this article, we will answer the question, is aluminum magnetic, as well as discuss the various properties it exhibits.
What Is Aluminum Metal?
Aluminum metal has a dull but silvery-white appearance, it is also lightweight, a good conductor of heat and electricity, and a highly corrosion-resistant material. It is found in clays, rocks, and minerals and has a 2.71 g/cm³ density. This refined non-ferrous metal can be used in construction, transportation, machine manufacturing, and packaging industries. Below are some of the most noted properties of this material:
- High Ductility and Malleability: When an aluminum metal is exposed to cold or heat, it becomes very easy to reduce into thin sheets or wires. This property means that it can be pulled, rolled, and stamped. It also means that aluminum metal can be shaped into different forms without the risk of breakage.
- Lightweight and Durable: Aluminum is one of the lightest metals with about a third of the weight of steel. With its specific weight of 2.7 g/cm3, it is most suitable for making airplanes and cars. With aluminum plates, companies can reduce the natural weight of other components with only insignificant losses in strength.
- Chemical Behaviour: Aluminium exists as an isotope, aluminium-27, making it nonradioactive. It is common in the boron group and forms various chemical compounds after oxidation or any chemical reaction. Aluminum easily reacts with mineral acids to form solutions containing water and Al ions, with the liberation of hydrogen gas. Al also combines with elements like zinc, copper, manganese, and silicon to produce different aluminum alloys.
- Electrically Conductive: Similar to the properties of iron and copper, aluminum is a very good conductor of electricity and heat. It is widely used to make aluminum cables because it allows the flow of electric current without much heating. It can also be used to make quality circuit loads like air conditioning systems in most properties.
- Recyclable: Aluminum metal can be recycled, which involves the re-melting of metal scraps and extracting the Al from the pure form. Luckily, aluminum can be recycled several times without reducing the quality of its physical properties. In other words, recycled Al can perform as well as the primary form extracted from its ore. Although some companies require the properties of natural aluminum, others can get the same level of strength, durability, and corrosion resistance with the recycled form.
Aluminum may be able to attract other metals, but it is also a good conductor of heat and electricity, recyclable, and corrosion-resistant These characteristics make aluminum one of the most widely used metals. Some applications of aluminum include:
- Electricity Jobs: Aluminium is a common metal used in making aluminum wires for new power lines. Today, most companies in the low-voltage lines sector replace copper conductors with aluminum wires. The higher conductance of aluminum also allows for more electricity transmission. Economically, using aluminum cables is also much cheaper than copper.
- Construction Works: Today, aluminum is a perfect material in the hands of an architect or construction worker. Al metal makes it easy to make structures that are not made of wood or plastic. Its lightweight property makes the mechanical components of aluminum structures lighter. Furthermore, Al is simpler and more convenient to use for construction.
- Packaging Purposes: Aluminium foil is an excellent packaging for almost anything because it is eye-catching and has insulating properties. It is made with rolling mills which involves processing a sheet of aluminum between two rotating rollers under pressure. The material commonly used to produce packaging foil is the pure form of aluminum.
- Transportation: There are aluminum cabin cars used to move various rocks, minerals, and bags of grain. Some tank wagons used to transport acids are also made of aluminum metal. Unlike steel, aluminum can resist corrosion, which will give aluminum cars a longer service life.
- Daily Consumer Products: Aluminum is a well-known material used to make cookware, foils, sinks, baking trays, and others. Apart from its shiny appearance and durability, aluminum is also safe and does not leave traces of the material in the food.
Is Aluminum Magnetic?
The answer to the question of whether aluminum is a non-magnetic material or not depends on specific situations. This is because aluminum has higher valence electrons than other magnetic metals, which creates stability within atoms. Even though aluminum is not magnetic, it still has a lot of applications, from common kitchen utensils to the construction of structures.
Aluminum and other metals like lithium, magnesium, and molybdenum can be referred to as paramagnetic materials. These materials are slightly attracted to a magnet and do not retain magnetic properties outside the magnetic field.
While aluminum is found in its natural form, specific properties can be added to aluminum metal to make new products. This process may occur through the smelting and alloying of Al. In other words, aluminum remains a major material in several ways today. So, is aluminum magnetic or nonmagnetic? It is weakly attracted to magnets in strong magnetic fields or environments.
What is Paramagnetism?
Paramagnetism is a property found in various materials that are weakly attracted to magnets. This is a result of the unpaired electrons that ensure that the magnetic moment of an electron is not zero. It forms an atomic dipole, where two atoms in a molecule have substantially different electronegativity. In other words, materials that exhibit paramagnetism are called paramagnetic materials.
Paramagnetic materials are slightly attracted to magnets in a close field. According to Curie-Weiss law, they exhibit magnetic susceptibility, which is above the Curie temperature level of a ferromagnetic. Curie Weiss’s law states that the magnetic susceptibility ‘X’ is inversely proportional to temperature:
M = XH = CH/T
M is for magnetization, X is for magnetic susceptibility, H is for its magnetic field, and T is for temperature. Examples of paramagnetic materials include aluminum, transition metal complexes, oxygen, and iron oxide.
What Is the Magnetic Quantum Number For Aluminum?
Magnetic quantum number stands for the energy levels available within the subshell of an electron. The values of each quantum range from -1 to +1 with whole number values between them. Below are the quantum numbers for the aluminum electron nutshell:
- n = 4, l = 1, m = -1, s = +½
- n = 3, l = 2, m = -1, s = +½
- n = 3, l = 1, m = -1, s = +½
- n = 3, l = 0, m = 0, s = +½
What Magnetic Pole Is Aluminum Attracted to?
Magnets have two poles: a north and a south pole. The north and south poles of two magnets will attract, while the same pole of two magnets will repel. However, aluminum is not significantly attracted to any of the magnetic poles.
How to Make Aluminum Magnetic
Under normal circumstances, aluminum is not magnetic. This does not mean that aluminum can’t perform certain interactions when close to a magnetic field. If you want to test this experiment, tie a strong magnet using a thread and place it on a stand. The moving magnet on the stand should also be placed near an aluminum material.
If you place a magnet close to an aluminum can, it can generate electric currents to form a magnetic field. This magnetic field will make the aluminum material a weak magnet that will be attracted to the magnet tied to the thread. One can conduct another test by dropping a magnet down an aluminum pipe.
As the magnet drops, there is a bit of resistance, especially because of the electric currents formed while moving in the pipe. Sometimes, the electric currents that create a magnetic field can cause the magnet to be repelled. This applies in cases where the magnet is also a metal, causing like poles of two materials to repel each other.
Is Aluminum Foil Magnetic?
No. But why is aluminum foil not magnetic? Foil is made of aluminum metal which has a crystal atomic structure, making it a nonmagnetic property. The arrangement of the electrons in aluminum cannot create a strong magnetic field. Aluminum is also made of electrons with complete valence shells (paired in a stable configuration), preventing magnetism from happening. So, even though a piece of aluminum foil is placed near a magnet, it will not exhibit any magnetic properties.
How to Make Aluminum Foil Magnetic
Naturally, aluminum foil is not magnetic because of its atomic structure, but it is possible to make it magnetic. One of the methods you can use is called magnetic field penetration. It involves applying a magnetic field to the aluminum foil with a magnetic induction coil. This will create a temporary magnetic field on the surface of the aluminum foil, allowing a magnet to stick to it.
Another option is to create an artificial attraction between a magnet and aluminum foil. Using strong glue, you can stick a small piece of iron or steel to the aluminum foil and place a magnet nearby to stick to the iron or steel. This will create a temporary attraction between the magnet and the aluminum foil.
Types of Aluminum Foil and their magnetic nature
Many types of aluminum foils are available to solve a lot of problems. Most aluminum foils produced go into the packaging of food and chemical products and others for industry use. Now, is aluminum foil attracted to a magnet? To answer this question, below are a few types of aluminum foils and their various magnetic abilities.
1. Containers of Aluminum Foil
Is an aluminum can magnetic? Aluminum foil containers are odorless, moisture resistant, and can be used to heat, bake, or grill food. Since the properties of aluminum include great conductivity, availability, heat insulation, and recyclability, they also possess such properties. These cans and containers resist chemical attacks and provide excellent non-magnetic protection, like Aluminum.
2. House Foils
House foils are multipurpose materials and are mostly used due to their great heat dissipation and vapor-resistant features. These foils from KDM Fabrication are lightweight and safe for wrapping, cooking, and storing food items. Also, they have no magnetic properties and can be converted into disposable cutlery.
3. Plastic-coated Lids
Plastic-coated aluminum lids are nonmagnetic and greaseproof. These aluminum products are used to protect food against vapor and oxygen that may cause spoilage. Aside from that, they are also ideal for their lightweight and excellent rust resistance features, contributing to the safety of the packaged material.
4. Chocolate Foils
Aluminum metal can be worked and formed into extremely thin sheets or foils used in packaging chocolate and other food items. Now aluminum is used because it is safe and does not flake. But is aluminum foil magnetic in this case? No, these chocolate foils are not magnetic.
5. Round Seal Foil
These foils are used as ornaments for cover books, gift tags, and cards. These aluminum foils are popular for professional, industrial, and domestic purposes. But why is aluminum foil not magnetic here? Well, that is because round seal foils possess the same non-magnetic properties as Aluminum.
Common Aluminum Alloys and Products and Magnetism
Aluminum alloys are classified into wrought and cast aluminum. Several aluminum alloys are available in various formats, including sheet, plate, tube, and bar. Below are specific aluminum alloy types, their properties, and products.
1. Wrought Aluminum
Unlike cast aluminum which will be discussed as we proceed, wrought aluminum or worked aluminum is an aluminum alloy that has been completely worked on, usually by rolling, forging, heat treatment, stamping, bending, and other mechanical processes. Bear in mind that these processes usually involve intense heat treatment and pressure.
The heat and tension from this aluminum working is what changes their shape or form to your desired product. Like every other mechanical process or aluminum formation, wrought aluminum has its advantages. Some of these pecks include:
- Great mechanical properties
- 100% weldability and machinability
- Wrought increases the structural integrity of these materials while making them strong enough to hold heavy and elevated structures.
- Through this work, these products can be easily machined into various shapes.
Now, worked aluminum has various grades or series, all of them maintaining their aluminum features, but slightly altered with various alloys. Depending on the alloy employed, it can increase the material’s strength and corrosion resistance, or reduce its melting point.
2. Cast Aluminum
Cast aluminum is among the popular aluminum products, gaining wide adoption due to its versatility and use in various industrial and household items. This aluminum product or material is formed by melting aluminum and pouring the molten into a mold. Usually, the takes the shape of the intended final product, so when this molten aluminum is added, it is left to cool and solidly.
As soon as it is solidified, it takes the shape of the desired product. The major reason why this type of aluminum is used is due to its strength and lightweight features. However, their corrosion resistance, thermal and electrical conductivity, and durability are not left out.
Is 18-gauge Heavy Duty 3003 Aluminum magnetic?
No. The 18 gauge heavy-duty 3003 aluminum alloy sheet has no magnetic properties. Made up of aluminum and manganese, it is a lightweight and highly corrosion-resistant metal. It also has good electrical and thermal conductivity properties while providing extra durability.
Is 2024 Aluminum magnetic?
No. 2024 aluminum alloy is a paramagnetic material, and examples include dislocations and precipitates. This material type is commonly used in aerospace, especially for the aircraft wing and fuselage structural parts in automotive applications. Other characteristics of this material include high strength, poor corrosion resistance, good workability, good fatigue resistance, and fair machinability.
Is 3003 Aluminum magnetic?
No. 3003 Aluminium is nonmagnetic but has good electrical and thermal conductivity. It is an alloy made up of aluminum and manganese. It is also lightweight and highly corrosion-resistant.
Is 416 Aluminum magnetic?
Yes. Due to added phosphorus and sulfur, 416 Aluminum is magnetic and a good heat and electrical conductor. Its various mechanical properties can be realized under a certain level of heat treatment.
Is 6061 Aluminum magnetic?
No. 6061 Aluminum, previously called alloy 61S, is non-magnetic but has good conductivity and reflectability. It is popularly used for extrusion, and other construction needs like building stair walls and flooring.
Is 7075 Aluminum magnetic?
No. 7075 Aluminum is nonmagnetic and has good mechanical properties. It is a high-strength alloy commonly used in the aerospace and defense industries. 7075 Aluminum is known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, making it suitable for marine environments
Is Aluminum 1100 magnetic?
No. 1100 aluminum is not magnetic, is corrosion resistant and is a good heat conductor. Its non-sparking features can be used near flammable substances. It is ideal for food, pharmaceutical, and liquid containers, cable sheathing, fin stock, fire extinguisher bottles, heat exchange tubing, and chemical food handling equipment,
Is t6063 Aluminum magnetic?
No. 6063 or t6063 aluminum is nonmagnetic and features good corrosion resistance, weldability, and workability. It exhibits high corrosion resistance, tensile properties, and excellent finishing characteristics. This aluminum alloy can be used in piping, irrigation tubing, architectural purposes, window frames and doors, and general extrusion.
Is Die Cast Aluminum Magnetic?
Die-cast aluminum is not magnetic because it is made from zinc and aluminum, which are both non-magnetic metals. However, it has high strength, corrosion-resistant, and high thermal and electrical connectivity properties. So it is used in the production of cookware and engine manufacturing.
Is Anodized Aluminum Magnetic?
No. However, due to its heat conductivity, it is used in the manufacturing of cookware. Still, it isn’t perfect for this setting, because it is better with cookware that has a magnetic field. However, anodized aluminum is not attracted to magnets unless altered with other magnetic metals.
Is Molten Aluminum Magnetic?
No. Molten aluminum is not magnetic. They lose all magnetic properties when they are exposed to extreme heat.
Is Nickel Aluminum Bronze Magnetic?
Yes. Bronze or aluminum is magnetic with metal alloys like nickel. This alloy has a low magnetic permeability, good mechanical properties, high corrosion resistance, and corrosion-fatigue strength.
Is Nickel Chromium Aluminum Magnetic?
Yes. Nickel is one of the few ferromagnetic elements used in producing various types of magnets for commercial purposes. This aluminum is a hard and ductile transition metal that is also corrosion-resistant because of its slow oxidation rate.
Is Nickel Plated Aluminum Magnetic?
Yes. As long as nickel is plated, the aluminum artifact will be magnetic. This is because nickel is a ferromagnetic metal, which means they are attracted to magnets and can be magnetized, and it is no different when they are used as coatings for aluminum.
Why Is a Paper Clip Magnetic But Aluminum Foil Isn’t?
Paper clip is made of galvanized steel wire, and the base materials in steel are iron and carbon. The first (iron) is ferromagnetic, meaning that it is highly attracted to magnets. Now, is aluminum foil magnetic? No. It does not exhibit any magnet-like properties and cannot shield magnetic fields. If the south pole of a magnet is brought near an aluminum cup, the paper clip will be attracted towards the magnet.
How do You Identify Aluminum?
One of the most accurate and easier ways to identify aluminum is by carrying out a magnet attraction test. In the test, it is expected that aluminum will not or weakly attach itself to the magnet, so if you get these results, the material is aluminum. However, if it sticks to the magnet strongly then it is another metal, probably a nickel, iron, etc. Other ways to identify aluminum metal include:
- Eye Test: This is usually less likely to be accurate for individuals who aren’t familiar with various metal alloys because most of these materials look almost the same. However, if you still decide to carry out an eye test, aluminum has a grey and dull appearance while metals like galvanized steel or stainless steel also have a grey but shinier appearance.
- Spark Test: You can also determine if a material is aluminum through a spark test and it is usually considered a low-cost procedure. This is carried out by holding aluminum over a grinding wheel, some metals and steel will have a spark but aluminum will produce no visible sparks.
- Weight Test: Aluminum is a lightweight metal, and its products are usually preferred over stainless steel in some settings due to this feature. However they may have the same look, so if you’re differentiating between the two, the lighter one is aluminum because stainless steel is heavier.
What can stick to aluminum?
Various materials can stick to aluminum. Most aluminum is made into an alloy to improve its properties. However, the type of aluminum will determine the bond strength. Anaerobic adhesives are suitable for threaded components and will require metals like aluminum to cure. An example of an adhesive you can use is Cyanoacrylate, also known as instant adhesive.
The different grades of this adhesive bond well with aluminum. Is there a magnet that will stick to aluminum? In certain situations, magnets are a major component that can stick to aluminum. They are referred to as paramagnetic materials because they weakly stick to magnets in weak magnetic fields.
Whether aluminum is magnetic or not is dependent on various factors, however, on its own, aluminum is one of the naturally occurring non-magnetic metals. But remember that it is paramagnetic, meaning that it has unpaired electrons and few aligned poles, making it weakly attracted to magnets.
Aside from that, aluminum can be coated with nickel and cobalt, which are both magnetic materials. Now this plating will improve the magnetism of aluminum products in both weak and strong magnetic fields. Many manufacturers are familiar with this process and KDM Fabrication is not an exception, so contact them if you need pure aluminum products or ones coated with other magnetic alloys.
1. Why Is Some Aluminum Magnetic?
That is because they are paramagnetic, and have unpaired electrons that respond to magnetism, especially in strong magnetic fields. When it comes to materials susceptible to magnetism, ferromagnetic materials come first, right before paramagnetic materials, and then diamagnetic materials.
2. Can a Magnet Pick up Aluminum?
Generally, magnets cannot pick up aluminum or its products. However, when aluminum is moved or swung around a metal, it may clasp to each other due to the electric current on the material, and this is called the Lenz effect. Additionally, aluminum can be coated with iron or steel and this process improves the magnetism of the metal.