The finishing.com Hotline -- Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing
Looking For a Magnet That Can Attract Gold
Q. If a metal detector can detect gold, then why can't a magnet attract gold? I am looking for a magnet that can attract gold. Does such a magnet exist? Thank you for your response.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
A. As far as I know, here is no known magnet for only gold with today's technology, and I haven't heard of theories being advanced that might lead to it any time soon. It's certainly not impossible, any more than superconductivity or lasers or compasses are impossible, but I don't think anyone currently is working on a theory that will lead to such a device.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
A. Toby, Any electrically conductive material can be turned into an electromagnet by surrounding it in a flow of electrons (applying a current in an induction coil surrounding the conductive material). Metal detectors use this phenomenon to induce a magnetic field and measure its strength in the conductive material.
In permanent magnets unpaired electrons spinning on atoms act as small electro-magnets pointing in particular directions i.e., they have a "north" and a "south" pole. When they point in the same direction on all the atoms, the material itself acts like a magnet; it is called a ferromagnet, since the simplest example is BCC iron. Of course a lump of iron is not normally a magnet, but has to be "magnetised" by some other magnet. This is because the raw material consists of many magnetic crystallites whose magnetic moments cancel each other until they are aligned.
Gold has a cubic close packed structure (CCP) and does not lend its self to permanently aligning the spin of its electrons unless it is subjected to a constant inductive current.
To answer your question... to attract gold magnetically you would have to develop some sort of reverse rail gun. The problem is how do you apply a large enough inductive field around the gold, and since gold does not act like a permanent magnet it will not be moved unless an independent out of phase electromagnetic field is applied to it.
Hope this isn't too boffin for you.
Cheers, JaceJason Miller
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
A. Hello ... Mercury!Glenn Wegman
A. ELECTRO GOLD MAGNET THE REAL THING
Herkimer, New York
Everyone knows that magnets are supposed to attract only ferrous metals like iron and steel. After years of trial and error, lots of money and listening to everyone telling me "It WON'T WORK" I have proved them wrong. Seeming to defy the laws of physics and magnetic principals, as we know them, it will pick up dollar-size pieces of copper, silver, gold and other non-ferrous metals. Excellent 'Crowd-Stopper' at science fairs or similar gatherings.(Weight 11 pounds).
Update: November 22, 2011 --
The International Jury Award of Innovative Excellence in the Category of Specialized Technology was presented to Lawrence Wandell for the Display of the Non-Ferrous Electromagnet at INPEX 2010 June 16-18 2010 Pittsburgh, PA USA. The device will attract aluminum, copper, lead, brass, silver and gold (in pure form), also leaves, wood, insects, stone, coins and a whole bunch of other interesting things one wouldn't normally associate with a magnet
Ed. note: Printing this posting does not imply endorsement.
A. Check out eddy current separation on the web; this ='s a gold magnet! Non-magnetic conductors e.g. gold, silver copper etc. can have electric fields inducted into them. These electric fields attract and repel just as do magnetic fields. Building the device to produce such electric field requires a moving magnetic field with the flux lines cutting a non-magnetic conductor causing eddy currents in that object. These eddy currents cause an electric field to be produced in the object which will induce an opposite field in other metal.Michael McNeill
- Chassell, Michigan, USA
January 22, 2011
A. www.rexresearch has schematics and construction details for the non-ferrous "Master Magnet".Howard Malone
- Oakdale, Minnesota, USA
Ed. note: "Howard Malone" has used multiple names on his submissions to this site so we have no reason to believe that any of them are non-fictitious. When someone is careful to make sure that you can't find them, I don't put much faith in their claims :-)
December 12, 2011
A. There is a book about an electromagnet that can attract copper, silver or gold; but you have to make from scratch.Salvador Ramos
- Carpentersville, Illinois, USA
July 16, 2012
A. TOBY YOU ASKED RIGHT QUESTION AND I HAVE VERY POSITIVE ANSWER FOR YOU.
THERE ARE SUCH MAGNETS, IT'S CODE NAME: 38EH.
IN NATURE, GOLD IS ALLOYED WITH ZINC, ALUMINUM, IRON, COPPER, PLATINUM AND OTHER METALS IF IT'S BLACK SAND GOLD.
YOU WILL NEED 3 TYPES OF MAGNETS:
- REGULAR --WHICH HOLDS YOUR NOTES ON THE FRIDGE MADE OF BLACK MAGNETITE
- NEODYMIUM N37 FOR CATCHING 50% GOLD 50% IRON SANDS, AND
- NEODYMIUM 38EH TO ATTRACT GOLD AT THE END, WHEN THERE ONLY CRYSTALS AND GOLD LEFT
I'VE BEEN DOING THIS ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO
SO, GOOD LUCK
- TAIPEI TAIWAN
September 21, 2008
Q. I am looking for this magnet because I threw my wife's wedding ring in the canal after she pissed me off. So now 3 years later I am trying to find it to give it back to her.Gary M
- Key West, Florida U.S.
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it." - Omar Khayyam
May 9, 2013
A. To find the ring in the canal, you must consider the point at which the ring entered the canal, the speed at which the canal flows at it's highest flow rate. The amount of silt in the bottom of the canal. Is the canal concrete lined or just mud? If the canal is concrete lined the ring will most likely be in a depression, in a crack or seam or on the inside corner of a sharp bend. If the bottom of the canal is mud or clay or silt with no concrete underneath the ring will have sunk in and not moved very far.
Using a gold detector or a dredge is your best bet to recover the ring
- Salkum Washington USA
March 16, 2012
Q. I want to know about magnet which can only attract Gold.
How can I buy it .
I shall be very Thankful to you for this kindness.
- Lahore, Pakistan
December 27, 2012
A. I made a nonferrous electromagnet made of brass.Luke Birgel
self - Hamilton, Ohio, United States
March 1, 2013
Q. I understand very little about the process however I have secured all 3 types of magnets. Can anyone divulge the sequence in which they are used? Appreciate your input.Alexandro Rubio
- Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S.A.
A. Gold is non-magnetic.
Even a rare precious earth magnet will not attract gold.
Rare earth magnets are often used in prospecting to separate non precious metals from would be nuggets.
Some people will put a rare earth magnet in with pay dirt, or suspected gold containing dirt, to remove a small amount of non precious metal.
If such magnets could attract gold, they would likely be used by prospectors and large scale miners to collect gold from dirt.
The most efficient way that most people use is panning or a similar concept, where water is used to push lighter material to one side, while the heavier (gold) material gathers at a lower point in the vesicle.
METAL DETECTORS used for gold prospecting emit a strong magnetic field, and briefly magnetize gold nuggets below the surface. Not enough to again, this magnetization is only very weak, otherwise a strong magnet would magnetize gold enough to draw it towards it (which we know it doesn't). The magnetization of the gold is so weak, that only mid to high range metal detectors will recognize the signal generated, which is then transferred through and amplified by a digital device and converted to sound (squeeeek squeeek)
Good luck miners!
- Sydney, NSW, Australia