What is Paramagnetism?

Paramagnetism is a phenomenon in which some materials are weakly attracted by the magnetic field. Such materials are known as paramagnetic materials. The magnetic field in these materials arises due to the motion of electrons in atoms as well as the spin of the electrons. The atoms of such materials have an unpaired electron in their outermost shell that causes a weak magnetization. This magnetization can be increased by applying an external magnetic field.

How Paramagnetism Works

Paramagnetism works by aligning the unpaired electrons in the direction of the applied magnetic field. When an external magnetic field is applied to a paramagnetic material, the magnetic field interacts with the electrons in the atoms of the material. The unpaired electrons align themselves with the direction of the magnetic field, resulting in an overall weak magnetization. The strength of the magnetization depends upon the strength of the applied magnetic field.

Examples of Paramagnetic Materials

Some examples of paramagnetic materials include aluminum, platinum, oxygen, lithium, and titanium. In aluminum, the unpaired electron is present in the 3p orbital. Platinum has six unpaired electrons in its outermost shell, making it highly paramagnetic. Oxygen is paramagnetic due to the presence of two unpaired electrons in its outermost shell. Lithium is also paramagnetic because of the presence of an unpaired electron in its outermost shell. Titanium is a moderately paramagnetic material due to the presence of four unpaired electrons in its outermost shell.

Applications of Paramagnetic Materials

Paramagnetic materials have several applications in different fields. One of the most common applications is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines used in medical diagnosis. The magnetic properties of paramagnetic materials make them useful in creating high-resolution images of the body for diagnostic purposes. Another application of paramagnetic materials is in the production of alloys. The addition of paramagnetic materials such as aluminum or titanium to other metals can improve their physical and mechanical properties. Additionally, paramagnetic materials are used in various electronic components, including transformers and capacitors.