Is Brass a Magnetic Metal?

Brass is a common alloy consisting of Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) mixed in the desired proportions, which can vary depending on the mechanical and electrical properties needed. Copper can range from 53 percent to 94 percent by weight, while zinc can range from 6 percent to 47 percent. Lead, manganese, aluminium, and other materials can be added to Brass in very small amounts to improve the amalgam’s overall machinability and other properties.

Is Brass a Magnetic Material? Brass is not a magnetic material. Copper and zinc, which are both nonmagnetic, are the most common constituents of brass. Because none of these chemicals react with moving magnets, the alloy that results is not magnetic. It is classified as a diamagnetic substance.

Magnetic Materials and Magnetism

A magnetic material is an object that can generate its own magnetic field. The motion of electrons and their interactions with one another are the foundations of magnetism.

Materials’ magnetic behaviour can be divided into five categories, each of which is determined by how the material reacts to a magnetic field. The following are the five different types of magnetic materials:

Paramagnetic materials are attracted to magnets only to a limited level, i.e. their attraction to a magnet is not extremely strong.

The permeability of their relative permeability is somewhat higher than one. Aluminum, magnesium, and other metals are examples.

Diamagnetic: When a magnet repels a material, that material is said to be diamagnetic.

The permeability of their relative permeability is somewhat lower than one. Zinc, copper, wood, bismuth, and other metals are examples.

Ferromagnetic materials are those that are strongly attracted to magnets.

Their relative permeability ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand. Iron, nickel, cobalt, steel, and other metals are examples.

Ferrites: Ferrites are a mixture of ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic materials, with ferromagnetic materials being less strongly attracted to magnets and non-ferromagnetic materials being more fiercely drawn to magnets.

Soft ferrites are iron oxides (Fe2O3) that contain one or more divalent oxides, such as MnO, ZnO, or NiO. Ceramic magnets are another name for them.

Hard ferrites, such as BaO.Fe2O3 or SrO.Fe2O3, are ceramic permanent magnetic materials.

Brass has a magnetic property.

The mobility of electrons creates magnetism in any material. The alignment of electrons in common fixed magnets is altered such that they can attract ferromagnetic materials to themselves.

An electric current, in addition to aligning electrons, can be utilised to form a magnet.

There are a number of simple scientific experiments that may be used to make a small magnet or to discover whether a specific substance can be magnetised.

The following is an example of such an experiment:

Wrap an iron or a steel nail in a copper wire neatly.

Connect the wire’s free ends to the battery’s two terminals.

The electrons flowing through the circuit will eventually magnetise the nail (because iron and steel are strong ferromagnetic materials).

However, if we repeat the same experiment on Brass, the brass material will not become a magnet. Brass is not a magnetic substance, as evidenced by this.

Despite this, a faint magnetic field can be seen.

Brass’ diamagnetic properties

Brass is a diamagnetic alloy of copper and zinc, and its component metals are also diamagnetic.

Copper’s valence shell electron configuration is 3d104s1, while zinc’s valence shell electron configuration is 3d104s2.

The d-orbital of copper and zinc has been entirely filled, with each electron coupled with another electron.

As a result, electron orbitals are shared, and the net spin in each orbital is zero.

In both copper and zinc, this net-zero spin results in diamagnetism.

Since brass is made up entirely of copper and zinc with no additional important metals or non-metals, the electrical properties are attributed only to the two metals (Cu and Zn).

As a result, brass has an electrical arrangement that results in an overall zero spin, ensuring that the alloy – brass – is diamagnetically confirmed.

Why are we looking at the magnetic field if brass isn’t magnetic?

When exposed to a magnetic field, brass, like its constituents, exhibits diamagnetism.

As a result of the rotational and revolutionary motion of electrons in the field, two rather weak magnetic lines of force arise.

The established lines of force are of equal magnitude and opposite direction. As a result, they cancel each other out, leaving a net magnetic force of zero.

Permanent magnetic dipoles aren’t found in diamagnetic materials.

As a result, we can say that brass reacts with magnets placed around it, because the magnet’s action causes an electric field to emerge around brass substances owing to electron movement.

When Brass is withdrawn from this magnetic field, it loses all of its minor magnetic interactions and no longer has any magnetic properties.

Finally, although reacting marginally with a magnet, brass is not a magnetic material since it lacks the ability to retain any magnetic qualities.

Brass is a perfectly diamagnetic material due to its characteristics and components.

Bronze vs. Brass

Brass and Bronze may look to the untrained eye to be the same metal. They differ from one another, however, in a variety of ways, as mentioned below:

Properties of Brass

Brass is more bendable than its constituent metals, copper and zinc.

Brass has a density ranging from 8.4 to 8.7 g/cm3 depending on the composition.

Brass has a melting point of around 900o- 940oC, which is relatively low.

Conductivity: It is a good heat and electrical conductor. Brass has a thermal conductivity of over 150 W/mK and an electrical conductivity of nearly 15.8106 S/m.

It is a low-friction metal, making it ideal for applications such as locks, valves, and gears.

The colour of a substance is determined by its chemical composition. The silver-tone and thus the brightness of the alloy grow as the amount of zinc increases.

Because brass is not ferromagnetic, it may be distinguished from scrap garbage with a powerful permanent magnet and meritoriously recycled.

Brass is made corrosion resistant by adding small amounts of aluminium. Due to the lack of a corrosive environment in the mixture, it even resists galvanic corrosion.

It’s a soft metal that’s simple to cast for a variety of uses.


Brass is a well-known and widely used copper and zinc alloy. It has a long history dating back to 500 BCE, and its use and qualities have been well researched since then.

Because of the proportions of zinc, copper, and other elements in the alloy, as well as the behaviour of brass in the presence of a magnet, brass is not a magnetic substance.

Even though it can interact with the magnetic field, it loses all of its properties when the field is removed. Various investigations show that by interacting with electrons or magnetic fields, brass cannot be turned into a permanent magnet.

Brass’ diverse qualities make it an ideal alloy for a variety of uses, including decorations, musical instruments, valves, gears, and even explosives fittings.

Read more: Why or why not does brass rust?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read More