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Difference between Diamagnetic Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic Materials

Last updated date: 28th Feb 2024
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Introduction: Diamagnetic, Paramagnetic, and Ferromagnetic

When a material responds to magnetic fields, it exhibits a variety of behaviors known as magnetic behavior. Some materials have mild interactions with magnets whereas others are repelled or exhibit significant attraction. Numerous scientific, commercial, and technical applications require an understanding of magnetic behavior. Diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials can be divided into these three groups.

When exposed to magnetic fields, diamagnetic materials are weakly repelled, paramagnetic materials are weakly attracted, and ferromagnetic materials exhibit considerable attraction and can continue to be magnetized even after the field has been removed. 

What is Diamagnetic Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic: 

Difference between Diamagnetic Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic

Difference between Diamagnetic Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic

Diamagnetic Materials:

When subjected to an external magnetic field, diamagnetic materials show a modest magnetic reaction. A characteristic of this reaction is the development of induced magnetic fields that compete with the applied field and produce a repulsive force. Diamagnetic materials are, in other words, pulled away from the magnetic field. The majority of organic molecules, copper, silver, and water are examples of diamagnetic materials.

The material's innate electrical structure is what causes the diamagnetic behavior. All of the electron orbitals are entirely occupied by diamagnetic atoms or molecules, producing a magnetic moment that is exactly zero. As a result, when the external field is removed, diamagnetic materials do not retain any magnetization.

Paramagnetic Materials:

The attraction of paramagnetic materials to an external magnetic field is weaker than that of diamagnetic materials. These substances have a net magnetic moment because their atomic or molecular orbitals contain unpaired electrons. A net magnetization is produced when a magnetic field is applied because the magnetic moments line up with the field.

Elements like oxygen, aluminum, and titanium that have one or more unpaired electrons frequently exhibit paramagnetic behavior. Compared to ferromagnetic materials, these materials have weak magnetic responses and partially filled electron shells. But when the external field is removed, paramagnetic materials lose their magnetization, unlike ferromagnetic ones.

Ferromagnetic Materials:

The strongest magnetic characteristics among the three groups are seen in ferromagnetic materials. These materials have the capacity to become permanently magnetized, maintaining their magnetic properties even when the external magnetic field is removed. Ferromagnetism is frequently seen in alloys made of iron, nickel, and cobalt.

The presence of discrete areas, known as domains, where the magnetic moments of atoms or ions are aligned in the same direction, is what distinguishes ferromagnetic materials from other materials. The domains align in the direction of the field when an external magnetic field is applied, increasing the material's overall magnetization.

Difference between Diamagnetic, Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic:

A magnetic field weakly repels diamagnetic substances like copper and water while weakly attracting paramagnetic substances like aluminium and oxygen. Iron and nickel are two examples of ferromagnetic materials that demonstrate a strong attraction and the ability to maintain their magnetization even when the external field is withdrawn. Diamagnetic and paramagnetic materials have no or weak magnetic moments, but ferromagnetic materials have aligned domains and a large net magnetic moment. This is the major difference between the two types of materials. The following table differentiate between diamagnetic paramagnetic and ferromagnetic:







Magnetic Response

An external magnetic field repels diamagnetic materials.

An external magnetic field has a weak attraction for paramagnetic materials.

When exposed to an external magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials are strongly drawn to it and can continue to be magnetic even after the field is gone.


Electron configuration

Diamagnetic materials have a net magnetic moment of zero due to the full filling of all electron orbitals.

Unpaired electrons in paramagnetic materials provide a net magnetic moment.

Due to the alignment of magnetic domains, ferromagnetic materials contain partially full electron shells and high magnetic characteristics.



When the external field is removed, diamagnetic materials lose their magnetization.

When the external field is removed, paramagnetic materials lose their magnetic properties.

Even when the external field is withdrawn, ferromagnetic objects continue to be magnetized.


Magnetic Strength

The least magnetically powerful materials are diamagnetic ones.

Materials that are paramagnetic have a mild magnetic response.

The strongest magnetic characteristics are seen in ferromagnetic materials.

Applications of Paramagnetic, Ferromagnetic, and Diamagnetic Materials

Diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials all have unique magnetic properties that are used in a wide range of applications. For each category, these noteworthy applications are listed:

Diamagnetic Materials:

  • Magnetic Levitation: When exposed to a magnetic field, diamagnetic materials, such as superconductors, can display potent repulsive forces. The repulsion between magnets and superconductors is used to achieve frictionless movement in magnetic levitation trains and apparatus.

  • Magnetic Shielding: Materials made of diamagnetic materials are good at blocking magnetic fields. Sensitive equipment can be shielded from interference by coatings or enclosures that reroute or attenuate external magnetic fields.

  • Applications in Biology and Medicine: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems and other biological and medical applications have made use of diamagnetic materials. To produce a uniform magnetic field and reduce distortions during imaging, these materials are utilized.

Paramagnetism Materials 

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): To make certain tissues or blood arteries more visible during MRI scans, paramagnetic materials like gadolinium-based contrast agents are utilized. These substances momentarily raise the magnetic field close to the imaging site.

  • Magnetic storage: Paramagnetic materials are used in magnetic data storage systems, such as hard drives. Data storage and retrieval are made possible by the read-and-write heads' reliance on the paramagnetic materials' ability to create and detect magnetic fields.

  • Catalysis: Some paramagnetic substances have the ability to catalyze chemical processes. In industrial operations like pharmaceutical production, environmental cleanup, and petroleum refining, these minerals are used as catalysts.

Ferromagnetic Materials:

  • Electromagnets: Ferromagnetic components, particularly iron, are frequently employed in the manufacture of electromagnets. These magnets are necessary for many different devices, such as MRI machines, electric motors, generators, and transformers.

  • Magnetic storage: Hard drives and magnetic tapes are examples of magnetic data storage devices, which use ferromagnetic elements as key components. Digital information may be stored and retrieved thanks to the magnetization-retaining property, which persists even when an external field is removed.

  • Magnetic sensors: Magnetic sensors, such as Hall effect sensors and magnetic field sensors, are made from ferromagnetic materials. Robotics, navigation systems, automotive systems, and non-destructive testing are just a few areas where these sensors are used.


Diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials are categorized according to how they react to magnetic fields from the outside and what makes them special in terms of magnetism. Materials that are diamagnetic exhibit a slight repulsion towards magnetic fields, while materials that are paramagnetic exhibit a weak attraction, and materials that are ferromagnetic exhibit a high attraction.

For a variety of scientific and technological applications, such as magnetic levitation, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic storage devices, and magnetic sensors, it is essential to comprehend these distinctions. Each type of material has a unique set of properties and uses, which has helped improve several industries and disciplines of study.

FAQs on Difference between Diamagnetic Paramagnetic and Ferromagnetic Materials

1. What distinguishes diamagnetic and paramagnetic materials most significantly?

Diamagnetic materials are repelled, while paramagnetic materials are weakly attracted to an external magnetic field due to their electron configurations.

2. Can a material exhibit more than one type of magnetic behavior?

Yes, depending on the situation, various materials can display a variety of magnetic behaviours. For instance, certain materials may behave paramagnetically at low temperatures before changing to ferromagnetically at high temperatures.

3. Can the magnetic properties of these materials be altered?

Yes, under specific circumstances, diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and ferromagnetic materials may have their magnetic characteristics changed. For instance, altering the magnetic behaviour of a ferromagnetic material by heating it over its Curie temperature.