Is Lead Magnetic ? 5 Facts You Should Know !

Lead is a heavy metal whose atomic number is 82, a soft and malleable metal. Most metals exhibit magnetism, so let us know about the magnetic behavior of lead.

Lead is diamagnetic, unlike any other metal. Lead can interact slightly with the magnetic field by repelling the applied field. When any external magnetic field is applied, lead induces a magnetic field opposite to the externally applied, which causes repulsive force. This makes lead diamagnetic.

The diamagnetic behavior of lead is too weak, so converting lead into ferromagnetic is highly impossible. Now, let us find the reason behind the diamagnetic behavior of lead and some other related facts in this post.

Why is Lead Diamagnetic?

Any substance is said to be diamagnetic if it possesses minimal magnetic effects due to unpaired electrons. Let us reason out regarding the diamagnetic nature of lead.

Lead is diamagnetic because the magnetic dipole of lead is aligned opposite to the direction of the applied field. The unpaired electrons combine to form a sigma bond within the molecular orbit, and thus their atomic spin will be in the reverse direction. Hence all electrons become paired, possessing diamagnetism.

The electrons present in the 6s and 6p shells are involved in the sigma bonding within the atomic shell. The diamagnetism of lead cannot be observed at room temperature and in a weak external magnetic field, but at low temperature and high field, lead exhibits perfect diamagnetism.

lead pb
The atomic structure of Lead by Ahazard.sciencewriter (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia commons

Lead magnetic properties

Lead is a silvery white or grayish metal with a tint of blue that belongs to group 14 that tends to bond with itself. Let us list out some of the magnetic properties of lead.

  • Lead is almost nonmagnetic at normal temperature, and its diamagnetism can be seen at a lower temperature.
  • Lead has a negative value of magnetic susceptibility.
  • Lead exhibits superconductivity at very low temperatures, about 7.2K.
  • Lead offers high resistance to the electric flow.
  • Net magnetic moment of lead is always 0.

Lead has no hysteresis loop as it has a linear magnetization curve because of its diamagnetic property. A magnetic moment in the lead is zero because all the unpaired electrons paired up with itself in the atomic shell leading to no free available electrons to cause the motion.

Lead magnetic permeability

Magnetic permeability defines the change in the resultant magnetic field inside the material to the magnetizing field where it is located. Let us focus on the magnetic permeability of lead.

Lead offers magnetic permeability equal to 1 because it is a diamagnetic metal. The relative permeability of lead is 0.999983. The permeability of lead is too low such that it does not cause any effect on the magnetic field.

If any metal has high permeability, the applied magnetic field will trace that path of least resistance. But in the case of lead, the resistance is high, and thus permeability is low. Thus, the magnetic field surrounds the air, which does not affect the strength of the magnetic field.

Lead magnetic susceptibility

Magnetic susceptibility is a factor that determines the amount of attractive or repulsive force evolved in an object. Let us know about the magnetic susceptibility possessed by lead.

The magnetic susceptibility of lead is -1.8, and its molar magnetic susceptibility is estimated at 293K is -23×10-6 cm3/mol. The negative sign in the susceptibility value indicates that the magnetic force developed in the lead is repulsive, which is additional evidence for the lead’s diamagnetism.

If the magnetic susceptibility of any material is positive, it indicates its paramagnetic or ferromagnetic behavior. So magnetic susceptibility also plays a vital role in distinguishing materials according to their magnetic behavior.


Let us wrap up this post by stating lead is diamagnetic metal even though it consists of unpaired electrons in the valance shell. The pairing up of electrons with the molecular orbit causes no free electrons and generates a repulsive force which causes diamagnetism in the lead.

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