What Are the Magnetic Properties of Inconel?

••• Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

The word Inconel is an industry term coined by the International Nickel Company (INCO) to describe alloys high in nickel content, meaning Inconel is not one specific alloy. It is a group of alloys that are composed of different elements with different properties. Although not naturally magnetic, certain Inconel alloys have magnetic properties, depending on the particular elements involved.


The heavy nickel content in Inconel alloys is one of the main sources of the magnetic properties of the alloys. Pure nickel is magnetic, even at room temperature, but is combined with elements such as chromium and carbon when making Inconel alloys. which reduces the magnetic properties. The effectiveness of this magnetic reduction can itself be reduced when the Inconel is rubbed or scraped against another alloy or undergoes a temperature change, which is commonly seen in machinery.

Electron Spin Alignment

The alignment of the outer layer of electrons for Inconel alloys makes them temperature-sensitive, especially at sub-zero temperatures. The spin of these outer electrons can become so slow when Inconel is introduced to cold temperatures that it acts as if an electron is missing. When this happens, the Inconel becomes magnetic.


Carbon and nickel is a common element combination used to create Inconel alloys. The addition of the carbon reduces the natural magnetic property of nickel. As carbon ages or is exposed to temperature extremes, it undergoes a decay process called carburization. The magnetic properties of the nickel begin to reappear and get stronger as carburization takes place.

Related Articles

How Does Heat Affect Magnets?
What Kinds of Metals Do Not Stick to Magnets?
Types of Metals That Attract Magnets
What Are Magnets Made Of?
List of Ferromagnetic Metals
How to Demagnetize a Magnet
Types of Magnets
Science Facts About Magnets for Kids
How Does Temperature Affect Metal?
Mechanical Properties of Mild Steel
How Does a Magnet Lose Its Magnetism?
Kinds of Magnets
Why Magnets Have No Effects on Some Metals
What Types of Metal are Attracted to Magnets?
What Materials Do Magnets Repel?
How to Create a Powerful Magnetic Field
Aluminum Hardness Classification
How Do Magnets Attract & Repel?
Is Hematite Magnetic?