Is Stainless Steel Always Magnetic?

stainless steel products

Different industries need stainless steel products with various properties, and there are certain characteristics that all grades of stainless steel share. It has that distinctive shine and is water-resistant in most circumstances. But there are some properties that not all grades of stainless steel share. One of those properties is magnetism. Because iron is magnetic and all steel contains iron, you might think that all grades would be magnetic. But that actually isn’t the case.

So what makes certain grades of stainless steel magnetic? Let’s look at the varying characteristics of different types of stainless steel.



Ferritic steels contain ferrite, which is a compound of iron and other elements. The structure of the ferrite molecules within the steel makes it magnetic. However, some ferritic steels have a weak magnetic pull. Common uses for ferritic stainless steel products are automotive parts, kitchen appliances, and industrial machinery.



Martensitic steels are also magnetic. They have a hard crystalline structure due to the carbon that is trapped in the crystals. Martensitic steels are very strong but they are less resistant to chemicals compared to austenitic steels. You will find martensitic stainless steel products across several industries. It is used to make many items including fasteners, hardware, pins, cutlery, gun clips, and more.



This third type of stainless steel, austenitic, is non-magnetic. Austenitic steel alloys contain higher levels of chromium and nickel. It is the high nickel content that makes austenitic steel non-magnetic. Despite the high concentration of iron in some grades of austenitic stainless steel, the structure of austenite renders them non-magnetic. In some circumstances, however, work-hardening or thermal treatment can cause ferrite to form, making it partially magnetic. Austenitic steels are the most common stainless steel alloys. They are used in kitchen equipment, appliances, pharmaceutical equipment, and architectural applications, to name a few.


Stainless Steel Products from Alliant Metals

Whether your industry requires magnetic or non-magnetic steel, Alliant Metals has the stainless steel products that you need. We can provide you with a wide variety of alloys, grades, and forms so that you can find exactly what you need for your project or industry.


Contact us today at 800-543-1453 to consult with our team and learn more about all our stainless steel products.

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