Magnetic materials - a term commonly used to refer to materials, which exhibit strong magnetic effects, such as ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic. Either of the two can also exhibit properties which are magnetically soft, hard, or semihard.1)
However, in general all materials are “magnetic” but they respond in various ways to magnetic field, depending on their atomic structure and ambient conditions, or at least do not significantly obstruct magnetic field. In that sense, even vacuum is “magnetic” because magnetic field can propagate through it and by definition its magnetic permeability $μ_0$ is a universal physical constant in the SI system of units.2)
Support us with just $1.00 through PayPal or a credit card:
Magnetic properties of all pure chemical elements of practical importance were measured, with at least an order-of-magnitude accuracy (see the large illustration with the periodic table below). The elements can be broadly classified into diamagnetic and paramagnetic (weak magnetic properties) and ferromagnetic (strong magnetic properties). At room temperature only three elements are ferromagnetic: iron, cobalt, and nickel.
However, pure elements are rarely used because of their magnetic properties (but they can be used for other reasons, like for instance copper for making electric wires or noble gases for providing protective chemical atmosphere).
From engineering viewpoint, metal alloys and chemical compounds, even made from non-ferromagnetic elements, can exhibit very strong magnetic effects, which need to be tailored, by many means: chemical composition, mechanical forming, thermal processing (annealing), with or without magnetic field.
There are several ways in which materials can respond, and these different types of response are described by various types of magnetism: