Q:

Does a magnet stick to stainless steel?

A:

Depending on the composition of the stainless steel, a magnet may or may not stick to it. Stainless steels are alloyed steels containing iron, carbon and other components. The iron is strongly magnetic, but the other components interfere with the iron atoms' ability to line up in the same direction, which is what gives it strong magnetic properties.

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Full Answer

Some components interfere more than others. For example, stainless steel that contains chromium — often used for kitchen knives — is still somewhat magnetic, while stainless steel that contains nickel — such as in kitchen sinks — is not magnetic at all. Other alloying elements used in stainless steel include molybdenum, manganese, silicon, copper, nitrogen, niobium, titanium and sulfur.

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