No, gold is not magnetic. It is classified as a diamagnetic material, similar to silver. Gold’s filled electron configuration does not allow for the alignment of magnetic moments, resulting in its non-magnetic behavior. 1
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Key Takeaways: Is Gold Magnetic?
- Gold is not magnetic and is classified as a diamagnetic material due to its electron configuration.
- Gold’s electron arrangement results in a canceling out of magnetic fields, making it non-magnetic and unable to attract or repel other magnetic materials.
- The purity of gold does not significantly affect its magnetic behavior, as pure gold and impure gold alloys generally exhibit negligible magnetic properties.
In case you want to know more about diamagnetic and paramagnetic materials, then this short video will be very helpful to you.
Why is gold not considered magnetic?
Gold is not considered magnetic because it is a diamagnetic material, meaning it does not possess a net magnetic field. In other words, gold does not have the ability to attract or repel other magnetic materials.
To understand why gold is not magnetic, we need to delve into the behavior of atoms and their electrons. Atoms consist of a nucleus, which contains protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons. 2
In a magnetic material, such as iron, nickel, or cobalt, the electrons are arranged in such a way that their spins align, creating a net magnetic field. 3 This alignment allows the material to attract or repel other magnetic objects.
In the case of gold, it has 79 electrons, distributed among various energy levels and orbitals. 4 The outermost electron shell, known as the valence shell, contains 11 electrons. When you see the electron configuration of gold ([Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s1), you can find that it has a more significant number of fully filled electron shells (5d10) as compared to only one unpaired electron (6s1). Thus the total diamagnetism of gold is because the number of the full shells is much higher. 5 6
The diamagnetic nature of gold means that when exposed to an external magnetic field, it generates a weak magnetic field in the opposite direction, causing it to be repelled slightly. However, this repulsion is extremely weak and not easily observable.
In summary, gold is not considered magnetic because its electron configuration does not allow for a net magnetic field. The canceling out of magnetic fields due to the arrangement of electrons makes gold diamagnetic, meaning it has a weak repulsion to external magnetic fields.
Can gold be magnetized under any circumstances?
Gold is generally considered to be non-magnetic and cannot be magnetized under normal circumstances. However, it is possible to induce a very weak magnetic field in gold through extreme conditions, such as extremely low temperatures or applying a strong external magnetic field.
Under normal conditions, gold does not exhibit magnetic properties. However, when exposed to extremely low temperatures close to absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit), 7 gold can become superconducting, which means it can conduct electricity with zero resistance.
In this superconducting state, gold can exhibit a very weak magnetic response called Meissner effect, where it expels an applied magnetic field from its interior. 8
Furthermore, gold can also be temporarily magnetized by subjecting it to a strong external magnetic field. This process is known as induced magnetization. 9
When a powerful magnetic field is applied to gold, its individual atomic magnetic moments can align in the direction of the external field, resulting in a weak magnetic response. However, once the external magnetic field is removed, the induced magnetization in gold disappears.
In summary, while gold is not magnetic in everyday conditions, it can exhibit a very weak magnetic response under extreme conditions such as very low temperatures or when subjected to a strong external magnetic field. However, this magnetization is temporary and will vanish once the external magnetic field is removed.
Does the purity of gold affect its magnetic behavior?
The purity of gold does not significantly affect its magnetic behavior. Pure gold, regardless of its purity level, is generally considered non-magnetic. The lack of magnetic behavior in gold is primarily due to its electronic structure and the arrangement of its electrons.
Gold, in its pure form, has such an electron configuration that results in a canceling out of magnetic fields. This means that the individual magnetic moments of the electrons align in such a way that they effectively nullify each other, resulting in no net magnetic field. As a result, pure gold exhibits negligible magnetic properties. 10
Impurities or alloying elements introduced to gold may have a minor influence on its magnetic behavior. However, even with the presence of these impurities, the overall magnetic response of gold remains weak and is not easily detectable. The introduction of impurities may affect the arrangement of electrons to some extent, but it does not significantly alter the non-magnetic nature of gold.
In summary, the purity of gold has a minimal effect on its magnetic behavior. Pure gold, regardless of its purity level, is generally considered non-magnetic due to its electron configuration. While impurities or alloying elements can introduce slight variations in the magnetic properties of gold, the overall magnetic behavior remains weak and not easily observable.
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- Composition of the Atom. (n.d.). Composition of the Atom. https://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/Chemistry/courses/chem104/experiment1/composition/composition.htm
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- Nabil, W. (2021). Magnetic Sources of Gold and Freshwater Rivers: Using Ultra-Strong Magnets in the Production of Freshwater and Gold Fishing from Salty and Freshwater Currents. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 09(12), 16–34. https://doi.org/10.4236/gep.2021.912002