This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Alloys which can be magnetized most strongly are composed of copper, manganese, and aluminum, the quantities of manganese and aluminum being proportional to their atomic weights (55.0 to 27.1, or about 2 to 1). The maximum magnetization increases rapidly with increase of manganese, but alloys containing much manganese are exceedingly brittle and cannot be wrought. The highest practicable proportion of manganese at present is 24 per cent.
These magnetic alloys were studied by Hensler, Haupt, and Starck, and Gumlich has recently examined them at the Physikalisch - technische Reichsanstalt, with very remarkable and interesting results.
The two alloys examined were composed as follows:
Copper 61.5 per cent: manganese, 23.5 per cent, aluminum, 15 per cent; lead, 0.1 per cent, with traces of iron and silicon.
Copper, 67.7 per cent; manganese, 20.5 per cent; aluminum, 10.7 per cent; lead, 1.2 per cent, with traces of iron and silicon.
Alloy II could be worked without difficulty, but alloy I was so brittle that it broke under the hammer. A bar 7 inches long and 0.25 inch thick was obtained by grinding. This broke in two during the measurements, but, fortunately, without invalidating them. Such a material is evidently unsuited to practical uses.
The behavior of magnetic alloys at high temperatures is very peculiar. Alloy I is indifferent to temperature changes, which scarcely affect its magnetic properties, but the behavior of alloy II is very different. Prolonged heating to 230° F. produces a great increase in its capability of magnetization, which, after 544 hours' heating, rises from 1.9 to 3.2 kilogauss, approaching the strength of alloy I. But when alloy II is heated to 329° F., its capability of magnetization fails again and the material suffers permanent injury, which can be partly, but not wholly, cured by prolonged heating.
Another singular phenomenon was exhibited by both of these alloys. When a bar of iron is magnetized by an electric current, it acquires its full magnetic strength almost instantaneously on the closure of the circuit. The magnetic alloys, on the contrary, do not attain their full magnetization for several minutes. In some of the experiments a gradual increase was observed even after the current had been flowing five minutes. In magnetic strength alloy I proved far superior to alloy II, which contained smaller proportions of manganese and aluminum. Alloy I showed magnetic strengths up to 4.5 kilogauss, while the highest magnetization obtained with alloy II was only 1.9 kilo-gauss. But even alloy II may be called strongly magnetic, for its maximum magnetization is about one-tenth that of good wrought iron (18 to 20 kilogauss), or one-sixth that of cast iron (10 to 12 kilogauss). Alloy I is nearly equal in magnetic properties to nickel, which can be magnetized up to about 5 kilogauss.