# Effect of magnetization on oxidation (rusting) of iron

Can magenetizing a piece of iron bar slow-down (or speed-up) the oxidation (rusting) process? In other words have any influence on it ?

From what I've looked up( wikipedia, quora), it appears that the property of magnetism depends on 'spin' and also the creation of bonds does have an impact on the 'spin' (apparently has something to do with pauli's exclusion principle).

PS: Tried to ask the question on physics.stackexchange.com but did not find all the tags so decided to ask here.

• Interesting query, never thought about it. Anyway, use Google Scholar, and search Effect of magnetization on corrosion. You will get a lot of useful results. Quora or Wikipedia should be your last resort in reading about some thing. Wikipedia is relatively more reliable but ...still. – M. Farooq Jun 29 '20 at 4:00
• Why not try an experiment? Remove oil from some nails, place partially in water, and add a strong magnet outside the container (to avoid electrolytic action), and set up a control without magnet (being sure to arrange nails the same way). – DrMoishe Pippik Jun 29 '20 at 18:40
• @DrMoishePippik - That was my first thought but was not sure if I could get enough free time but in retrospect may be it will be worth it. – Ravindra HV Jul 2 '20 at 2:08

OK, those who say magnetic fields have no effect can buy a relatively inexpensive Magnetizer (as I once did) and try performing a controlled experiment (as I attempted) with the rusting of iron. There is some apparent evidence that alignment of magnetic fields can promote radical activity.

This UK study on the effect of a magnetizer in reducing the amount of chlorinating pool chemicals required, is an example of a successful application. Reference, see Magnetic treatment of swimming pool water for enhanced chemical oxidation and disinfecting.

However, with respect to possible applications and significant results, apparently electrochemistry applications are at the top. For example, see Zou, P.; Leddy, J., Magnetized Nickel Electrodes for Improved Charge and Discharge Rates in Nickel Metal Hydride and Nickel Cadmium Batteries, in Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters 2006, 9, A43-A45. To quote from the article:

...magnetized electrodes yielded higher currents than the corresponding nonmagnetic electrodes by 70 and 230 %, respectively.

Source material for background includes Magnetic field induced motion behavior of gas bubbles in liquid, by Keliang Wang, Pucheng Pei, Yu Pei, Ze Ma, Huachi Xu & Dongfang Chen, in Scientific Reports 6, Article number:21068 (2016), doi:10.1038/srep21068 ), interesting article comments include:

the kinetics of oxygen bubbles is mainly proportional to intensity of the electromagnetic field. The magnetic-field induced rotational motion of oxygen bubbles in a square electrolyzer can increase liquid hydrodynamics, thus solve the problems of oxygen bubbles coalescence, and uneven distribution of electrolyte composition and temperature. These types of oxygen bubbles movement will not only improve energy saving and metal deposition for energy storage and metal refinery, but also propel object motion in application to medical and martial fields.

Note, with my experiment reported above with iron rusting, I observed significant more frothing/air bubbling activity around iron in the presence of the Magnetizer. One could look at my experiment as a crude rendition of an iron metal/air battery cell with the Magnetizer forming a magnetic iron electrode.

Finally, a link to a prior StackExchange comment on the topic here.

• Did take a quick look but will need a more detailed readup into it. Also am looking for a scenario where the metal (like iron filings in you case) itself is magnetised rather than just being subject to a magnetic field. So not sure if the two scenarios are equivalent. – Ravindra HV Jul 2 '20 at 2:12

As far as my sadly neglected physics knowledge goes It shouldn't. Oxidation is a chemical reaction process - electron exchange; and magnetism is spin dependent. Oxidation of metal will affect magnetism because it affects the physical structure of the material, but the inverse should not apply, as the energy drivers are order level lower for magnetization.

That said, I haven't seen experimental proof ...

I propose an experiment that does not involve sub-atomic effects: take a very highly magnetized iron (or perhaps magnetic stainless steel) and immerse it into a concentrated ferric chloride solution. The metal will corrode, producing ferrous ions which combine with ferric ions to give magnetite $$Fe_3O_4$$, which largely adheres to the iron/steel. (I know this occurs, for a fact.) Corrosion continues until the metal is consumed.

I have not done this with magnetized metal. Now, magnetite is magnetic; if it is bonded more tightly to the magnetic iron/steel than to non-magnetic metal, it might impede corrosion by preventing easy access of the corrosive ferric chloride to the body of the metal. Sort of like a passivation layer. But probably not nearly as effective.

One way to measure the effect is to do the experiment for a period of time and weigh the metal (before and after) to determine how much metal was lost. Another possible method would be to measure the electric potential of the iron/steel electrode as it was dissolving. Any data would surely be worthy of much explaining.