MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Is there any other type of metal besides lodestone that is or was magnetic?

Date: Fri Oct 22 08:43:03 2004
Posted By: Eder Molina, Researcher PhD, Dept. of Geophysics, Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics - USP
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1097428045.Ph

Hi, Joshua. In fact, some materials other than lodstone are "magnetic". In 
magnetism we classify the materials in some classes, depending upon the 
magnetic property called MAGNETIC SUSCETIBILITY, that is a value for a 
material that reflects the degree of magnetization that it can have. So, a 
material with suscetibility=0 could not be magnetized, and all other could 
be, in theory.

In fact, all of the common materials present some suscetibility, but it is 
so tiny that the magnetic field that it generates is too much weak to be 
detected, unless you use some powerful magnetometer. And most of the 
materials present a magnetic field as they are exposed to a external 
magnetic field, and as this external field is nulled, they do not 
remain "magnetic". The materials that can "record" some magnetic 
information even when the external magnetic field goes to zero are 
called "magnetic" in the popular nomenclature.

If you want to know what minerals/rocks can be classified as "magnetic" 
(in the popular nomenclature), I could list some: ilmenite, maghemite, 
hematite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, and magnetite (lodstone).

You can find some of them at

Best regards

Eder C. Molina
Dept. of Geophysics
Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences - IAG

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