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Is silver magnetic in any way?

Gstack

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#1
I got quite collection of silver from over the years and I've come across videos on Youtube that show a huge number of items that I have that are actually fakes. I wanted to go through my collection and test everything, but I've seen advice that seems rather inconsistent. They mention a magnet test. Here it is:

"Silver is not magnetic. If you place a strong, rare-earth magnet called a Neodymium magnet on a silver coin or bar, it should not easily stick to it. If you are testing bars, you can angle one at 45 degrees and let the magnet slide down. It should slide down very slowly. If it sticks or it slides very quickly, it is not silver. However, keep in mind that just because the magnet does not stick does not necessarily mean that it is silver."

Now, if silver is not magnetic, why would the magnet "not easily stick to it"? Shouldn't it not stick at all? It even says that holding a bar at a 45 degree angle and letting the magnet slide down the side of it would cause the magnet to slide very slowly rather than very quickly. Why would it do that if silver isn't magnetic? In the past, I've simply used a really strong magnet I have to see if it sticks or not at all. It didn't stick to anything, so I thought I was safe. Now it sounds as if it should stick a little bit, which seems impossible if silver is non-magnetic.

Can someone help clarify this for me?
 
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Gstack

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#3
Around 1% percent iron remaining in 999 silver bar?
Possibly. But I've heard that what is left after the .999 is either "margin of error" that has to be accounted for, or it's copper, which would also not be magnetic. Of course, I could be mistaken about this.
 

Bottom Feeder

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#4
It's eddy currents, you guys. When you slide a magnet down a (long enough) piece of silver, the magnet creates a current flow in the silver, which, in turn, creates a magnetic field itself. Silver is the best conductor of elect so you can see results of the interaction as it slides.

BF
 

GOLDZILLA

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#5
 

AgBar

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#7
Warning: wonky nerd discussion followed by practical application.

The confusion comes from the sloppy and imprecise use of the word "magnetic" in every-day language. (Not preaching from some holy mountain here; I do it all the time, too.)

All materials respond to magnetic fields in some way, even if it's almost imperceptible. The most common usage of "magnetic" means "will it stick to this here permanent magnet?" Technically the term for that is "Ferromagnetic", meaning that the atoms/molecules of the material will align with an external magnetic field in such a way as to cause attraction and perhaps even amplify the field. When you put a refrigerator magnet on your fridge, the atoms of iron in the door align so as to attract the football calendar from your local pizza joint onto the door (North attracts South). This sort of material can also maintain a magnetic field after it has been so aligned (that's how permanent magnets are made). The other two kinds of magnetic response are called diamagnetism and paramagnetism.

BUT YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT!

The schoolhouse lecture is cut short. Form here on out, when I say "magnet", I mean the thing that sticks to your fridge. Actually, you'll want to grab a really strong magnet; I recommend a Neodymium rod magnet. For example:

https://www.amazingmagnets.com/p-175-r2000d.aspx

If your "silver" sticks to the magnet, then it is not pure. That's some Iron or Nickel or something causing the stuff to stick to the magnet.

But pure silver will show a different effect, not because it is ferromagnetic (it is not!), but rather because it is an excellent conductor of electricity, the best of the pure metals! Remember that electricity and magnetism are two sides of the same coin: hence why the slide-rule crowd calls it the "electro-magnetic interaction." Lorentz, Maxwell, and Einstein are the big three from back in the day that brought it all together.

What happens is that, simplistically, magnetic fields do not "like" to change. If you try to change a local magnetic field, the EM field itself will provide some resistance to that change. In an electric circuit, this is the basis of an inductor. In a chunk of metal, as you try to change the magnetic field, there will be circular electric currents induced that will resist that change.

So, in a very good electrical conductor like Silver, if you take your rod magnet, place it at one end of the ingot and pull it across the surface, you will feel a resistance that is much more than friction. This is the result of you changing the magnetic field (moving the magnet from one end to the other), and the electric currents in the metal resisting that change. If the material is a crappy conductor, the eddy currents will not be strong enough to resist the motion.

Edit: From personal experience, this effect is easily felt by hand with 100 Oz silver doorstops. 10 oz bars you have to be careful and pay attention, as there simply isn't as much material to respond to the magnet. 1 Oz coins and bars I personally can't feel by hand.
 
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Gstack

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#8
Warning: wonky nerd discussion followed by practical application.

The confusion comes from the sloppy and imprecise use of the word "magnetic" in every-day language. (Not preaching from some holy mountain here; I do it all the time, too.)

All materials respond to magnetic fields in some way, even if it's almost imperceptible. The most common usage of "magnetic" means "will it stick to this here permanent magnet?" Technically the term for that is "Ferromagnetic", meaning that the atoms/molecules of the material will align with an external magnetic field in such a way as to cause attraction and perhaps even amplify the field. When you put a refrigerator magnet on your fridge, the atoms of iron in the door align so as to attract the football calendar from your local pizza joint onto the door (North attracts South). This sort of material can also maintain a magnetic field after it has been so aligned (that's how permanent magnets are made). The other two kinds of magnetic response are called diamagnetism and paramagnetism.

BUT YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT!

The schoolhouse lecture is cut short. Form here on out, when I say "magnet", I mean the thing that sticks to your fridge. Actually, you'll want to grab a really strong magnet; I recommend a Neodymium rod magnet. For example:

https://www.amazingmagnets.com/p-175-r2000d.aspx

If your "silver" sticks to the magnet, then it is not pure. That's some Iron or Nickel or something causing the stuff to stick to the magnet.

But pure silver will show a different effect, not because it is ferromagnetic (it is not!), but rather because it is an excellent conductor of electricity, the best of the pure metals! Remember that electricity and magnetism are two sides of the same coin: hence why the slide-rule crowd calls it the "electro-magnetic interaction." Lorentz, Maxwell, and Einstein are the big three from back in the day that brought it all together.

What happens is that, simplistically, magnetic fields do not "like" to change. If you try to change a local magnetic field, the EM field itself will provide some resistance to that change. In an electric circuit, this is the basis of an inductor. In a chunk of metal, as you try to change the magnetic field, there will be circular electric currents induced that will resist that change.

So, in a very good electrical conductor like Silver, if you take your rod magnet, place it at one end of the ingot and pull it across the surface, you will feel a resistance that is much more than friction. This is the result of you changing the magnetic field (moving the magnet from one end to the other), and the electric currents in the metal resisting that change. If the material is a crappy conductor, the eddy currents will not be strong enough to resist the motion.

Edit: From personal experience, this effect is easily felt by hand with 100 Oz silver doorstops. 10 oz bars you have to be careful and pay attention, as there simply isn't as much material to respond to the magnet. 1 Oz coins and bars I personally can't feel by hand.
AgBar:
Thank you for that very detailed explanation! I'll admit to not understanding all of it, but I think I understand well enough to know what to look for, and why. I have quite a few 10oz. bars to check out, but no 100oz. I also have what I believe is a round rare earth magnet to use like in some of the videos I've seen. I also have a large industrial magnet, but it might be too big to do anything other than see if it will actually stick to anything. I've used that before, and there was no noticeable attraction to any of the silver I have. But sliding a magnet down a bar is something new and I'll give that method a try.
 

Saul Mine

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#9
It's called "motor effect". Get a copper pipe and drop a strong magnet through it. The moving magnetic field generates an electric current in the copper and that resists the motion that generated it. "Motor effect" is the same as "generator effect" - both happen at the same time.

If the magnet moves quickly, that tells you the metal is not a good conductor. Silver is the best conductor. Copper and gold are almost as good.
 

Ragnarok

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#10
I have a piece of aluminum tubing about 4” diameter, about 3/8” thick wall. I have two 2x2x1 inch rare earth magnets that a friend accidentally let get together and I haven’t yet built a jig to get them apart. So it’s now a 2” cube.
When I hold the aluminum tube vertical and drop in the magnet in st the top it immediately slows, and it takes several seconds for it to pass the length of the tube and fall out the other end.

I’ll have ro see if I can make a video.

I love science!

R.
 

Bottom Feeder

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#11
Rok, yeah, that will work in a tube. The currents are able to flow around the circumference as it falls and creates a more powerful field effect.

BF

wood jig of maple might work
route it out to exact size for each one and twist the wood blocks
 

GOLDZILLA

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#12
 

Irons

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#13
Only times I saw slightly magnetic silver it was 925 serpentine necklaces. I brought one to my coin guy just for his opinion because it turned silver acid bright red like it's supposed to but you could move it around slightly with a neodymium magnet.
He said that's not uncommon for 925. Now pure silver I never figured would react to a magnet at all. Interesting thread!


.
 

Ragnarok

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#14
If you move a powerful magnet across the surface of a silver bar with a small gap between the two, you will feel the resistance, and if you move it fast enough it can be enough to move the silver.

R.
 

Rollie Free

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#15
I have a piece of aluminum tubing about 4” diameter, about 3/8” thick wall. I have two 2x2x1 inch rare earth magnets that a friend accidentally let get together and I haven’t yet built a jig to get them apart. So it’s now a 2” cube.
When I hold the aluminum tube vertical and drop in the magnet in st the top it immediately slows, and it takes several seconds for it to pass the length of the tube and fall out the other end.

I’ll have ro see if I can make a video.

I love science!

R.
I like to show this to people. I work in quality at a metal based manufacturer so I have access to different sizes and shapes of metal and I have to test for magnetism. So once in a while I'll drop a neo magnet down an aluminum tube and its fun to watch. It just floats and flips in slow motion.

Not my video but it does the trick. I like to use a much longer tube.