There are three types of metals that interact with magnetic fields. Ferromagnetic metals are strongly attracted to magnets. Paramagnetic metals are also attracted by a magnetic field, but the force of attraction is significantly weaker. In the presence of a strong magnet, diamagnetic metals induce a weak opposing magnetic field.
Ferromagnetic metals are strongly attracted by a magnetic force. The common ferromagnetic metals are iron, nickel, cobalt, gadolinium, dysprosium and alloys such as steel that contain ferromagnetic metals. Ferromagnetic metals are commonly used to make permanent magnets.
Paramagnetic metals are weakly attracted to a magnetic force. The attractive force is about a million times weaker than the force attracting ferromagnetic materials. Copper, aluminium and transitional elements are all paramagnetic metals.
Unlike ferromagnetic and paramagnetic metals, diamagnetic metals respond to magnets by inducing an opposing magnetic field. Examples of diamagnetic metals include carbon graphite, gold, silver, lead and bismuth. MRI machines make use of the carbon in human cells by using a large magnet to induce a magnetic field.
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