Metals can exhibit a wide range of magnetic properties, which can be quantified and measured using various techniques and methods. Understanding the magnetic behavior of metals is crucial in numerous applications, from electronics and energy generation to medical imaging and transportation. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of metal magnetism, exploring the key concepts, measurement techniques, and realworld examples.
Magnetic Moment (µ)
The magnetic moment is a fundamental property that describes the strength and direction of a magnet. It is typically measured in units of Bohr magnetons (µB) or joules per tesla (J/T). The magnetic moment of a metal is directly related to its atomic structure, particularly the number of unpaired electrons in its dorbitals.
The magnetic moment (µ) of an atom can be calculated using the following formula:
µ = g * √[J(J+1)] * µB
Where:
– g
is the Landé gfactor, which depends on the angular momentum quantum number J
– J
is the total angular momentum quantum number
– µB
is the Bohr magneton, which is the unit of magnetic moment (9.274 × 10^24 J/T)
For example, the magnetic moment of iron (Fe) is 4.87 µB per atom, while the magnetic moment of nickel (Ni) is 2.83 µB per atom. These differences in magnetic moment are due to the varying number of unpaired electrons in the dorbitals of these metals.
Magnetic Susceptibility (χ)
Magnetic susceptibility is a measure of how easily a material can be magnetized. It is typically expressed in units of m^3/kg or dimensionless. Magnetic susceptibility can be positive (paramagnetic) or negative (diamagnetic), depending on the material’s atomic and electronic structure.
The magnetic susceptibility (χ) of a material can be calculated using the following formula:
χ = M / H
Where:
– M
is the magnetization of the material (magnetic moment per unit volume)
– H
is the applied magnetic field strength
Ferromagnetic materials, such as iron and nickel, have very high positive susceptibility, while superconductors exhibit perfect diamagnetism (χ = 1). For example, the magnetic susceptibility of aluminum is 2.2 × 10^5, while the susceptibility of iron is 198.
Magnetic Field Strength (H)
The magnetic field strength is a measure of the intensity of a magnetic field. It is typically expressed in units of amperes per meter (A/m) or teslas (T). The magnetic field strength depends on the current flowing through a wire or the magnetization of a material.
The magnetic field strength (H) can be calculated using the following formula:
H = I / l
Where:
– I
is the current flowing through the wire
– l
is the length of the wire
For example, the magnetic field strength of a typical refrigerator magnet is around 0.1 T, while the magnetic field strength of a hospital MRI machine is around 1.5 T.
Magnetic Induction (B)
Magnetic induction is a measure of the total magnetic field in a material, including both the applied field and the induced field. It is typically expressed in units of teslas (T) or webers per square meter (Wb/m^2). Magnetic induction depends on the magnetic permeability (µ) and the magnetic field strength (H) of a material.
The magnetic induction (B) can be calculated using the following formula:
B = µ0 * (H + M)
Where:
– µ0
is the permeability of free space (4π × 10^7 H/m)
– H
is the applied magnetic field strength
– M
is the magnetization of the material
For example, the magnetic induction of a ferromagnetic material can be up to several teslas, while the magnetic induction of a diamagnetic material is usually less than 0.1 T.
Hysteresis Loop
A hysteresis loop is a graphical representation of the magnetic properties of a material. It shows the relationship between the magnetic field strength (H) and the magnetic induction (B) of a material as it is magnetized and demagnetized. The area of the hysteresis loop is a measure of the energy required to magnetize and demagnetize a material.
The shape and size of the hysteresis loop depend on the material’s magnetic properties, such as its saturation magnetization, remanence, and coercivity. Ferromagnetic materials, such as iron and nickel, typically have large hysteresis loops, while paramagnetic materials have smaller loops.
Coercivity (Hc)
Coercivity is a measure of the resistance of a material to demagnetization. It is typically expressed in units of amperes per meter (A/m) or oersteds (Oe). Coercivity depends on the microstructure and the magnetic history of a material.
The coercivity (Hc) of a material can be determined from its hysteresis loop, as it is the value of the magnetic field strength (H) at which the magnetic induction (B) is zero during the demagnetization process.
Hard magnetic materials, such as rareearth magnets, have high coercivity, which makes them resistant to demagnetization. Soft magnetic materials, such as transformer cores, have low coercivity, which allows them to be easily magnetized and demagnetized.
Examples and Applications
Metals exhibit a wide range of magnetic properties, which are utilized in various applications:

Iron (Fe): Iron is a ferromagnetic material with a high magnetic moment (4.87 µB per atom) and a high magnetic susceptibility (χ = 198). It is widely used in transformers, electric motors, and generators.

Nickel (Ni): Nickel is also a ferromagnetic material, with a magnetic moment of 2.83 µB per atom and a magnetic susceptibility of 112. It is used in various magnetic alloys and sensors.

Aluminum (Al): Aluminum is a diamagnetic material with a magnetic susceptibility of 2.2 × 10^5. Despite its nonmagnetic nature, it is used in some magnetic shielding applications due to its low magnetic permeability.

Superconductors: Superconductors, such as niobium (Nb) and lead (Pb), exhibit perfect diamagnetism (χ = 1) below their critical temperature. This property is used in the design of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and particle accelerators.

Magnetic Alloys: Magnetic alloys, such as alnico (AlNiCo) and neodymiumironboron (NdFeB), are designed to have specific magnetic properties, such as high coercivity and high remanence, for use in permanent magnets and other applications.
These are just a few examples of the diverse magnetic properties of metals and their applications. The study of metal magnetism is an active area of research, with ongoing developments in materials science, characterization techniques, and innovative applications.
Conclusion
In conclusion, metals can exhibit a wide range of magnetic properties, which can be quantified and measured using various techniques and methods. Understanding the magnetic behavior of metals is crucial in numerous applications, from electronics and energy generation to medical imaging and transportation. By exploring the key concepts, measurement techniques, and realworld examples, this comprehensive guide provides a solid foundation for understanding the intricacies of metal magnetism.
References
 NIST. (n.d.). Metrology for Magnetic Materials. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/programsprojects/metrologymagneticmaterials
 Khalifah, P. (2007). Magnetism. Retrieved from https://people.chem.umass.edu/pkhalifah/chem242/242S2007EP/20074MagnetismEP.pdf
 EPA. (n.d.). Magnetic Method. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/environmentalgeophysics/magneticmethod
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