Is Sand Magnetic? 5 Facts You Should Know!

Sand is loose granular grains occurring in different colors and luster. In this article, we shall discuss the magnetic properties of the sand in detail.

Sand can be magnetic or nonmagnetic depending on the type of grains it constitutes and its source rock’s composition. Most of the sand is magnetic and shows an attraction toward the magnet. The magnetite sand is naturally magnetic and can produce its magnetic field.

The colored soil shows different responses when bought closer to the magnet. In this article, let us elaborately discuss magnetic behavior with detailed facts. We shall also illustrate the magnetic properties of sand and the magnetic force and field produced by the sand.

Is black sand magnetic?

Black sand is a name because of its black color and is normally heavy and glossy sand. Let us discuss whether black sand is magnetic or not.

Black sand is magnetic because it contains magnetite’s magnetic particle grains, which are rich in iron. Iron has four unpaired electrons in its valence orbital, which makes it ferromagnetic. The black sand is formed due to the basaltic volcano rocks, and basalt consists of Fe and Mg.

Is silica sand magnetic?

Silica sand composes of silica oxide and a small percentage of iron oxide with a range of colors white, beige and yellow. Let us see whether silica sand is magnetic or not.

Silica sand is not magnetic as it majorly composes of silica which is diamagnetic. Some grains of silica sand may show weak magnetic behavior due to impurities and fine particles of iron. Silica sand grains are perfectly crystalline, and silica has two unpaired electrons in a 3p orbital that shows diamagnetic behavior.

Is white sand magnetic?

The white sand is composed of eroded limestone, corals, and sea shell fragments, giving it a white color. Let us discuss whether white sand is magnetic or not.

The white sand is weakly magnetic because it is composed of calcium carbonate, and the calcium carbonate is paramagnetic. The sea shell fragments and corals are made up of calcium carbonate. It contains a small concentration of magnetite, gypsum, and chlorite that also intensify the paramagnetic behavior of white sand.

Is kinetic sand magnetic?

Kinetic sand is coated with silicon oil and can be molded into different shapes. Let us discuss whether kinetic sand is magnetic or not.

Kinetic sand is not magnetic as it does not react with the magnet or show any response in the presence of the magnetic field. It is composed of diamagnetic silicon, and its oxides do not have free electrons. The kinetic sand grain is coated with silicon oil, which does not allow the magnetic flux to pass through it.

Can sand be magnetized?

The sand is composed of particles of minerals and rock. We shall now learn whether sand can be magnetized and the different methods used to magnetize the sand particles.

The sand can be magnetized and can attract the magnet when magnetized. Let us list out some of the methods applicable to magnetize the sand here below:-

  • Rubbing the sand on a magnet
  • Keeping the sand in contact with a magnet
  • Mixing magnetite sand particles in nonmagnetic sand
  • Passing magnetic field through the sand
Sand Image by Chenspec (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia Commons

Sand Magnetic Properties

The magnetic properties of sand rely upon the composition of the sand and its source rock. Let us discuss the magnetic properties of the sand in detail.

  • The sand consisting of magnetite is magnetic, while other sand particles possess paramagnetic and diamagnetic behavior.
  • The magnetic susceptibility of sand depends upon its coercivity.
  • Silica sand repels away from the magnet.
  • The sand can be magnetized at a higher magnetic field strength.

Sand Magnetic Field

The magnetic field is a region in which the particle can align and attract or repel from the magnetic particle. Let us ponder on the magnetic field produced by the sand.

The sand’s magnetic field is produced due to the magnetic dipole alignment of every sand particle and is in a small locality at that spot. It is seen in the case of black sand, rich in magnitude and capable of producing its magnetic field. It then attracts the other surrounding magnetic grains towards itself.

Sand Magnetic Force

The magnetic force is a force experienced on the sand grain due to the intensity of the magnetic flux produced by the field. Let us discuss the magnetic force exerted by the sand.

The sand’s magnetic force is felt on the small grains of sand particles that drive them towards the magnetic sand or drift away from their colony. The magnetic flux intensity per unit area of the field remains the same as the number of magnetic dipoles in a grain of sand does not change.


The sand can be magnetic or nonmagnetic based on the type of constituents of the sand. Black sand is magnetic due to the concentration of iron, white sand is weakly magnetic because of calcium and silica, and kinetic sand is not magnetic due to the diamagnetic silica majority in its composition.

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