It’s safe to say that many different metals are attracted to magnets, some of them more than others. However, what happens if you want to place a magnet on rusted metal? Does rust affect the properties of the metal? Is your magnet going to work despite all of that and still attract that metal? Let’s find out.
How does rust affect the magnetic properties of a metal?
The important thing to note about rust is that it does affect any metal’s magnetic properties. Iron is a ferromagnetic metal, and in its case the electron interactions are making the magnetism point bits in the same direction. This leads to the development of magnetic domains. What happens within the magnetic field is that the domains are lining up with the field. In doing so, they create a very powerful magnet. Aside from iron, you also have other ferromagnetic metals like cobalt and nickel.
But how does rust affect all of this? As you can imagine, there’s quite the difference when rust comes into play. Rust introduces new atoms into the entire mixture. That means it generates new chemical forms and different atomic interactions. Having water and oxygen molecules within the iron molecules leads to less magnetic activity. You’ll end up having a less efficient magnetic field between those iron molecules.
Does rusted metal lose all of its magnetic properties?
This heavily depends on the amount of rust that we are talking about. In most cases, you will have light rust, and this will lower the magnetic properties quite a bit. However, if you end up with a metal that’s heavily rusted, then it will lose most of its magnetic properties. The reason why that happens is because the more additional molecules appear, the harder it is for the magnetic field to stay as strong as it is. Instead, the magnetic properties will go away after a while just because the metal structure has changed significantly. Which is why heavily rusted metals lose their magnetic properties.
Can you get the magnetic field back if you remove rust from a metal?
There’s no guarantee that such a thing might work. However, removing the extra molecules will help increase the magnetic field. Whether that will attract a magnet or not depends on how much rust you remove. It also matters if the metal was heavily rusted or not. At some point, if you have too much rust it might be too hard to bring back that metallic property. If you have light rust, it might be possible to remove it and regain some if not all of the magnetic properties.
Another thing to note is that the location and place where you use the magnet on rusted metal matters quite a bit. The magnet strength can be affected by various things. These include radiation, electrical currents, heat and other factors. Having other magnets nearby will also affect the efficiency and power of a magnet too. You must take all these things into consideration if you want to prevent any external factors from interfering with your metal – magnet attraction.
As you can see, the appearance of additional molecules ends up affecting the magnetic properties of a metal. The more rust appears on a metal, the harder it will be for the metal to retain its magnetic field. What that means is that for the most part, rusted metal won’t attract any magnet. Of course, if you have just some light rust, you can remove it and the magnetic field will be powerful enough to attract any magnet. Yet if you have a lot of rust, then you won’t have any magnetic field. Does this become an issue? Yes, you will need to remove as much rust as possible, if those water molecules are removed there is a chance that your metal might regain its magnetic field.