What Types of Sheet Metal Are Magnetic?

Round magnets on rusted sheet metal

If you are trying to find the right sheet metal for your next project, you need to think about its individual properties and which properties of the metal are needed. For example, when you take a look at different types of metal, you might be wondering what types of sheet metal are magnetic. There are plenty of magnetic sheet metal options available, and you need to think about whether the material is magnetic before you buy your supplies. If you’re unsure what you need to know about different types of metal or how magnetic a certain type of sheet metal is, then reach out to us at Alpine Sheet Metal Systems and speak directly to a sheet metal expert who can help you make the right choice.

What Makes Metal Magnetic?

The orientation of the electrons in the individual atoms are what determines whether a metal is magnetic or not. In some metals, the spins of the electrons in the atoms line up perfectly. If all of the electrons have the same spin, they produce a magnetic field. This magnetic field extends beyond the borders of each atom, causing the metal itself to become magnetic.

On the other hand, if the electrons spin chaotically, meaning that their spins do not line up, then the metal is not going to be magnetic. Furthermore, some metals are more magnetic than others, which means that some metals have stronger magnetic fields than others. 

What Types of Metal Are Magnetic?

There are a few specific types of metal that are magnetic. Common examples include nickel, cobalt, iron, dysprosium, and neodymium. There are some projects that are completed with certain percentages of different types of metal. Furthermore, there are some alloys that are made up of two or more materials. Therefore, this is not a black-and-white issue. Typically, the degree of magnetism of certain materials varies depending on how it is used. 

Iron, cobalt, and nickel are the most common types of metal that are magnetic. Today, it is unusual for materials to be made out of 100 percent of any of these materials. If your material contains a significant percentage of any of the three types of metal listed above, then it will have some degree of magnetism to it. 

What Types of Metal Are Not Magnetic?

On the other hand, there are more examples of metals that are not magnetic. Common examples include zinc, titanium, tin, lead, copper, and aluminum. All of these metals are commonly used for different projects, but they are not magnetic. In addition, common alloys, such as bronze and brass, are also not magnetic. 

There are some situations where jewelry made out of these metals can be mined with platinum. If they are coated with platinum, then they may have some magnetic properties; however, platinum itself does not have a lot of magnetism to it. The magnetic forces can change slightly depending on the makeup of certain alloys. 

Is Aluminum Magnetic?

Typically, aluminum is not magnetic. It has a crystal structure, so it is typically called paramagnetic. This means that aluminum has electrons and certain orbitals that are not paired. Therefore, it is not lined up appropriately with any significant magnetic field. Aluminum should be described as a very weak magnet. If aluminum is exposed to a very strong, permanent magnet, then it may experience some degree of mild attraction to that magnet; however, if the external magnetic field is removed, aluminum does not have any magnetic forces at all.

Are All Types of Steel Magnetic?

In general, steel is magnetic. That is because steel itself is made up of materials that are ferromagnetic. That means steel is made from other materials that have magnetic properties to them. Because steel is made up of mostly iron, and iron is a magnetic metal, steel is going to be magnetic as well.

On the other hand, some types of steel are are not magnetic. For example, stainless steel is steel that is made up of 10 percent (or more) chromium, which makes this material less magnetic. If the specific type of steel you are using has a lot of iron in it, then it will have a higher degree of magnetism. Because stainless steel has a lot of nickel and chromium, it is not as magnetic as other types of steel.

Galvanized steel is very magnetic. Galvanized steel is steel that has been coated with zinc. Zinc does not impact the magnetic properties of iron or any other type of metal. Therefore, even though galvanized steel has been coated with zinc, the magnetic strength is not going to be impacted. 

Are Magnetic Metals Stronger Than Other Types of Metals?

No, just because a metal is magnetic doesn’t mean it is going to be stronger than other types of metals. The magnetism of a metal does not have any bearing on how strong or weak it is. For example, there are some metals, such as steel, that are among the strongest metals around. While steel is ferromagnetic, other strong metals, such as titanium, do not have any magnetism at all. There are also metals with no magnetism that are fairly brittle. 

Even though it is important to understand which types of metals are magnetic, there are other factors you need to think about if you are looking for strong materials for your upcoming project. That is where we can assist you. 

Partner with Alpine Sheet Metal Systems for Your Next Project

We are Alpine Sheet Metal Systems, and we have access to different types of materials that we can use for your upcoming project. We are one of the most trusted companies in the local area, and we will work with you personally, customizing your sheet metal to meet your needs. Regardless of the type of project you have coming up, it would be our pleasure to help you.

Give us a call today to speak to a member of our team, and be sure to ask us for a free quote for your project! It would be our honor to help you get the most out of your sheet metal. 

ASMS Sheet Metal Fabrication

About Jeff Folsom

Jeff Folsom is the founder and president of Alpine Sheet Metal Systems, a key player in North Texas’s commercial construction sector, specializing in roofing and architectural design. He also leads Alpine Roofing Construction and Alpine Thermal Imaging Systems, expanding his influence across the U.S. Residing in Dallas, Jeff enjoys travel, auto racing, and boating in his free time.

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