Is Magnesium Magnetic? (+ 4 More Things to Know)

No, magnesium is not magnetic. It is a non-magnetic metal. Magnesium does not possess the necessary properties for generating or retaining a magnetic field and is considered non-magnetic for practical purposes.

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Key Takeaways: Is Magnesium Magnetic?

  • Magnesium is not magnetic because it does not have unpaired electrons.
  • Magnesium can be magnetized under strong magnetic fields, but it is not easily magnetized.
  • The purity of magnesium can have an impact on its magnetic behavior, but the effect is typically minimal.
  • Magnesium alloys with high concentrations of magnetic impurities can exhibit measurable magnetic properties.

Why is magnesium not considered magnetic?

Magnesium is not considered magnetic because it is not inherently magnetic. Magnetism is a property that arises from the alignment of electron spins within a material. 1 In substances that exhibit magnetism, the magnetic moments of the electrons align in such a way that they generate a magnetic field.

In the case of magnesium, its electron configuration does not allow for the alignment of electron spins in a manner that produces a net magnetic field. Magnesium has a relatively simple atomic structure, with two electrons in its outermost energy level. 2 These electrons occupy separate orbitals and have opposite spins, which cancels out their magnetic moments.

While magnesium is not magnetic, it is still an important element with many other useful properties. It is a lightweight and highly reactive metal, known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. 3

Magnesium is widely used in various applications, including aerospace, automotive industries, and manufacturing processes, due to its low density and good mechanical properties. 4

Can magnesium be magnetized under any circumstances?

No, under normal circumstances, magnesium cannot be magnetized. Magnesium is not inherently magnetic due to its electron configuration. However, it is important to note that there are ways to induce magnetism in certain materials through external means.

One method is by subjecting a material to a strong magnetic field. This process is known as magnetization. 5

However, for a material to be easily magnetized, it typically needs to have unpaired electrons or a specific crystal structure that allows for the alignment of magnetic moments.

Magnesium does not possess these characteristics, so even when exposed to a strong magnetic field, it does not become magnetized. Therefore, under normal conditions, magnesium is considered non-magnetic.

Does the purity of magnesium affect its magnetic behavior?

Yes, the purity of magnesium can have an impact on its magnetic behavior, although the effect is typically minimal.

Commercially available magnesium is usually highly pure, with impurities present in very low concentrations. These impurities can include elements such as iron, nickel, or cobalt, which are magnetic materials. The presence of even small amounts of these magnetic impurities can introduce some magnetic behavior in magnesium.

However, the magnetic properties of magnesium are still generally considered to be weak, even with impurities present. The magnetic moments of the impurities are usually not sufficient to overcome the dominant non-magnetic behavior of magnesium.

It’s worth noting that if the concentration of magnetic impurities in magnesium is significantly increased, such as in specialized alloys or intentionally doped materials, it is possible to achieve a measurable magnetic response. However, this is not the case for pure magnesium found in typical applications.

Further reading

Is Zinc Magnetic?
Why is Nickel Magnetic?
Is Silver Magnetic?
Is Gold Magnetic?
Is Titanium Magnetic? 

About author

Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.

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  1. Magnetism. (n.d.). Magnetism.
  2. Electron Configuration for Magnesium (Mg). (n.d.). Electron Configuration for Magnesium (Mg).
  3. Wang, Q., & Zhang, M. (2015). Cold-spray coatings on magnesium and its alloys. Surface Modification of Magnesium and Its Alloys for Biomedical Applications, 379–405.
  4. Landkof, B. (2006, May 15). Magnesium Applications in Aerospace and Electronic Industries. Magnesium Alloys and Their Applications, 168–172.

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