MadSci Network: Physics

Re: How non-magnetic steel is produced?

Date: Mon Feb 21 10:45:07 2000
Posted By: Bob Novak, Other (pls. specify below), Sr Process Research Engineer, Carpenter Technology
Area of science: Physics
ID: 950371006.Ph

Hi Chun Ming,

This is an interesting question, and one that metallurgist and physicists 
are still discovering answers for.  It is the electrons in a localized 
region called a domain that must interact for a material to become 
magnetic.  When the interaction of the electrons  with a magnetic field 
results in a lowered energy state, the material can retain a magnetic 
field.  Anything that changes the relative positions of the electrons in a 
crystaline structure will affect how they interact and their ability to 
become magnetized.  The different elements that are added to iron change 
its crystaline structure, and thus its ability to be magnetized.  
Additionally, not all crystaline forms of iron are magnetic.  The face 
centered cubic structure of iron is not magnetic.  The interaction of the 
electrons in a face centered cubic iron structure does not result in a 
lowered energy state when it interacts with a magnetic field.  

This is a simplified answer to a complex materials characterization 
question.  In summary, it is the interaction of the electrons in a domain, 
and not any single pair of electrons, which determines how magnetic any 
given alloy system will be.

Bob Novak
Specialist -Process R&D
Carpenter Technology

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