The simple answer is no.
Brass does not have any magnetic properties nor will it become attracted to a magnet.
People often ask this question because they have heard that iron is attracted to magnets, but are looking for science behind the interaction between two metals.
Is Brass Magnetic? (EXPLAINED)
What is Brass?
Brass is a metallic alloy of copper and zinc.
The amount of zinc and copper are not always consistent, allowing companies to make different formulations of brass alloys with tailored mechanical and electrical properties.
As brass was predominantly used as a material for musical instruments such as trombones and later also as French Horn necks (where it’s called yellow brass), a high copper content was once considered to be the only way of achieving good tonal results.
Around the middle of the 20th century, however, manufacturers began to use many other materials such as aluminum and plastic in place of brass for the production of musical instruments.
The search for a brass alloy with high strength and low wear-and-tear on valves led to the development of so-called valve brasses, which mainly consist of zinc and nickel.
The use of some types of special brasses is common among jazz musicians and vintage instrument restorers.
What Does Magnetic Mean?
Magnetism in general is the fact that certain objects (magnets) can create magnetic fields, and other objects can be affected by these fields.
A magnetic field is a vector field that has both magnitude and direction, with its origin at where the magnetic force appears to originate from.
It can be represented by both lines of magnetic flux (F), which is the amount of magnetic force in some area, or magnetic field (B), which is the force produced in some area.
The magnetic flux lines are always found in closed loops, and their direction changes according to the right-hand rule.
Magnetic flux itself is proportional to the change in magnetic potential energy, which means it can be restated as the amount of work needed to move a free charge from one position to another without producing any acceleration.
A magnetic monopole would be the opposite of a magnet.
If you were to take apart any device known to create a magnetic field (which are all permanent magnets) and separate the north pole from the south pole, then those two poles that you end up with are considered magnetic monopoles.
The reason that they do not exist on earth is because there’s no net change in energy when doing this – but on some other objects it may still be possible.
Magnetic monopoles have never been found, but scientists aren’t exactly looking for them either.
A lot of people have tried to create one using what are called homopolar generators (where you spin a magnet around in a circle to create electricity).
But while we’ve gotten pretty good at generating current, we’ve never been able to isolate one magnetic pole.
When you bring two magnets close to each other, they will either attract or repel depending on their polarity (i.e., whether one is a north pole and the other a south pole).
The exact reasons why this happens still aren’t fully understood, but we do know that moving electric charges are required for this type of interaction to take place.
Magnetism works off of something known as Faraday’s Law, which states:
The electromotive force induced in any closed circuit is equal to the negative of the time rate of change of the integral of magnetic flux enclosed by any surface bounded by that circuit.
This basically means that if you walk around a closed loop, you will sum up all the magnetic forces associated with the line integral in which it’s enclosed and this is a measure of electromotive force in that area.
When there’s a current going through something like a wire, then there will be a magnetic field created around it which ‘cuts’ across the lines to generate an electromagnetic field.
The more lines cut or enclosed, the greater this voltage will be, which is why an electromotive force is induced in a circuit when it goes through a current.
Inversely, when moving through a magnetic field, there will be lines being cut across which force the charge to move (i.e., create voltage).
This is how generators work using Faraday’s Law – moving magnets induce voltage.
Why is Brass Not Magnetic?
Brass is not magnetic because it has no magnetic domains.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, meaning copper has magnetic domains while zinc does not.
If you were to somehow separate the two metals, then brass would become a magnet – but this simply doesn’t happen naturally.
Alloys are chemical mixtures which usually share some properties with their pure materials but definitely don’t act like magnets.
It is plausible that brass could become an alloy that can act like a magnet, however.
For example, Ferrocerium, which is a man-made material created by mixing iron oxide with magnesium, can create sparks.
This would be an example of an alloy made to act like a magnet.
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