Diamagnetism - Encyclopedia

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DIAMAGNETISM. Substances which, like iron, are attracted by the pole of an ordinary magnet are commonly spoken of as magnetic, all others being regarded as non-magnetic. It was noticed by A. C. Becquerel in 1827 that a number of so-called non-magnetic bodies, such as wood and gum lac, were influenced by a very powerful magnet, and he appears to have formed the opinion that the influence was of the same nature as that exerted upon iron, though much feebler, and that all matter was more or less magnetic. Faraday showed in 1845 (Experimental Researches, vol. iii.) that while practically all natural substances are indeed acted upon by a sufficiently strong magnetic pole, it is only a comparatively small number that are attracted like iron, the great majority being repelled. Bodies of the latter class were termed by Faraday diamagnetics. The strongest diamagnetic substance known is bismuth, its susceptibility being - o000014, and its permeability 0.9998. The diamagnetic quality of this metal can be detected by means of a good permanent magnet, and its repulsion by a magnetic pole had been more than once recognized before the date of Faraday's experiments. The metals gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, antimony and mercury are all diamagnetic; tin, aluminium and platinum are attracted by a very strong pole. (See MAGNETISM.)

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