Is Brass Magnetic? 9 Facts You Should Know!

Brass often finds its utility in ornaments, musical instruments, utensils, strings, coins, etc. Let us see whether brass holds magnetic properties.

Brass is not magnetic. It is an alloy of copper and zinc. Copper and zinc are both diamagnetic. The diamagnetic property of Cu and Zn is because there are no unpaired electrons that can show attraction towards the magnetic field and hence repel by the field.

Due to the force of repulsion, the diamagnetic substances become magnetized only in the presence of a magnetic field applied at a 180-degree angle. We shall further elaborate in this article on the permeability of brass, why some brass is magnets and magnetic behavior of different types of brass.

Why is some brass magnetic?

We have seen that the brass is nonmagnetic, but still, some brass materials show magnetic behavior. Let us ponder on their fact.

Some brass is magnetic because it consists of some magnetic impurities, showing attraction towards the magnets. Although copper and zinc are nonmagnetic, during the formation of brass alloy, they might acquire and retain some magnetic domains.

The electronic configuration of Cu is [Ar] 3d10 4s1 and that of Zn is [Ar] 3d10 4s2. Copper has a half-filled s-orbital that is responsible for the magnetic characteristics.

Brass Magnetic Permeability

The ability of the material to allow the magnetic flux to pass through its matter is known as magnetic permeability. Let us discuss the magnetic permeability of brass.

The magnetic permeability of brass is 0 because it cannot retain the magnetic field and allow the magnetic field lines to penetrate through the brass, thus exerting the force of repulsion on it if the field intensity is the maximum.

Is solid brass magnetic?

Solid brass is a pure form of brass without any impurities. Let us see whether a solid brass is magnetic or not.

Solid brass is not magnetic because it does not show any response in the presence of the magnetic field due to the unavailability of unpaired electrons and diamagnetic properties. Hence, solid brass is used in different manufacturing methods.

Is nickel plated brass magnetic?

The brass is plated with nickel to reduce friction and improve its corrosion resistance property. Let us see whether the addition of nickel makes nickel-plated brass magnetic.

Nickel-plated brass is magnetic because nickel, which is used for plating brass, is ferromagnetic and retains its magnetic property even without a magnetic field. The electronic configuration of Ni is [Ar] 4s2 3d8 with two unpaired electrons that align parallelly in the direction of the magnetic field.

Is chrome plated brass magnetic?

The chrome-plated brass is expensive and is used in hydraulic cylinders, pistons, and different mechanical spare parts. Let us discuss whether chrome-plated brass is magnetic.

The chrome-plated brass is nonmagnetic because chromium is anti-ferromagnetic. The atomic configuration of chromium is [Ar] 3d5 4s1; the valence orbital is half-filled and stable, with all unpaired electrons. The magnetic domains are aligned opposite each other, canceling the magnetic field.

Is yellow brass magnetic?

Yellow brass is an alloy of 60-70% of copper and 30-40% of zinc with traces of tin and lead. Let us now clarify the magnetic property of yellow brass.

The yellow brass is not magnetic because it is anti-ferromagnetic. It is mainly composed of Zn and Cu, which are diamagnetic and do not show any attraction toward the magnetic field. Although tin and lead are paramagnetic, the unpaired electrons pair during the alloy formation.

Tin has two unpaired electrons that make it paramagnetic, and lead metal is diamagnetic as two unpaired electrons pair up in metallic form; as the quantity of these metals is very less in yellow brass, it sparsely capable of adding the magnetic permeability to the yellow brass.

Is red brass magnetic?

Red brass is composed of 88% copper with 8-10% zinc and 2-4% tin in it. As it majorly comprises brass, it appears as copper. Let us reveal the magnetic characteristic of red brass.

Red brass is also nonmagnetic because this alloy does not attract the magnetic field as it dominantly contains copper, which is diamagnetic. Thus, no free electron is present that can spin and align in the direction of the magnetic field.

Is white brass magnetic?

White brass is a silvery textured metal due to the addition of magnesium and aluminum. Let us discuss whether white brass is magnetic or not.

A white brass is slightly magnetic because of the presence of magnesium and aluminum, which are paramagnetic. The Al and Mg present on the surface of the white brass reacts with oxygen to form oxides, thus decreasing its magnetic permeability.

The electronic configuration of Mg is [Ne] 3s2, and Al’s is [Ne] 3s2 3p1. Al has one unpaired electron, which accounts for paramagnetism. Despite the absence of unpaired electrons, Mg shows paramagnetic characteristics as the spinning electron population increases in the externally applied field.


We can conclude from this article that brass is not magnetic because it is an alloy of zinc and copper which are diamagnetic. It attracts a magnet/magnetic field if a paramagnetic or ferromagnetic substance is added to brass. Different materials are made of brass by adding different metals with variable magnetic properties.

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Hi, I’m Akshita Mapari. I have done M.Sc. in Physics. I have worked on projects like Numerical modeling of winds and waves during cyclone, Physics of toys and mechanized thrill machines in amusement park based on Classical Mechanics. I have pursued a course on Arduino and have accomplished some mini projects on Arduino UNO. I always like to explore new zones in the field of science. I personally believe that learning is more enthusiastic when learnt with creativity. Apart from this, I like to read, travel, strumming on guitar, identifying rocks and strata, photography and playing chess. Connect me on LinkedIn -

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