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Diamagnetism vs. Paramagnetism: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 22, 2023
Diamagnetism refers to materials that repel magnetic fields; paramagnetism refers to materials attracted to magnetic fields.

Key Differences

Diamagnetism is a magnetic property exhibited by materials that tend to repel both poles of an external magnetic field. On the other hand, paramagnetism characterizes materials that are attracted to an external magnetic field, aligning their internal electron spins to the field.
Materials displaying diamagnetism have paired electrons, meaning there is no net magnetic moment. In contrast, paramagnetic substances have unpaired electrons, which contribute to a net magnetic moment, causing the attraction to magnetic fields.
It's crucial to note that all materials exhibit some form of diamagnetism, but in substances where this is the dominant property, the repulsion effect becomes noticeable. In the realm of paramagnetism, not all materials display this behavior—only those with unpaired electrons in their atomic or molecular structure do.
The effects of diamagnetism are generally weak when compared to other forms of magnetism. Paramagnetism, though stronger than diamagnetism, is still weaker than ferromagnetism, another form of magnetic behavior.
While materials with dominant diamagnetism are repelled by a magnet and demonstrate negative magnetic susceptibility, paramagnetic materials, with their positive magnetic susceptibility, will be attracted to a magnetic field but won't retain any magnetism once the field is removed.

Comparison Chart

Reaction to Magnetic Field

Repels magnetic fields
Attracted to magnetic fields

Electron Arrangement

Paired electrons with no net magnetic moment
Unpaired electrons with a net magnetic moment

Magnetic Susceptibility


Relative Strength

Generally weaker than other forms of magnetism
Stronger than diamagnetism but weaker than ferromagnetism

Retention of Magnetism

Does not retain magnetism
Does not retain magnetism after the external field is removed

Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism Definitions


Magnetic behavior resulting from paired electrons.
Graphite, due to its paired electrons, displays diamagnetism.


A property of materials that are attracted to magnetic fields.
Aluminum exhibits paramagnetism due to its unpaired electrons.


A form of magnetism weaker than paramagnetism.
Despite its presence in all materials, diamagnetism is generally weak.


A form of magnetism stronger than diamagnetism but weaker than ferromagnetism.
Paramagnetism in some metals is evident when they are placed near magnets.


A property of materials that repel external magnetic fields.
Bismuth shows strong diamagnetism.


Magnetic behavior resulting from unpaired electrons.
Due to its electron configuration, platinum shows paramagnetism.


Does not retain magnetism after removal of an external magnetic field.
Once the magnet was removed, the diamagnetic material reverted to its original state.


Exhibits positive magnetic susceptibility.
The positive susceptibility of certain metals is due to their paramagnetism.


Exhibits negative magnetic susceptibility.
The diamagnetism of certain materials causes them to have negative susceptibility.


Does not retain magnetism after the removal of an external magnetic field.
Despite its attraction, the paramagnetism of copper means it won't stay magnetized.


Of or relating to a substance that generates a magnetic field in the direction opposite to an externally applied magnetic field and is therefore repelled by it.


Relating to or being a substance in which an induced magnetic field is parallel and proportional to the intensity of the magnetizing field but is much weaker than in ferromagnetic materials.


What is diamagnetism?

Diamagnetism is a property where materials repel external magnetic fields.

Why do diamagnetic substances repel magnetic fields?

Due to their paired electrons, they have no net magnetic moment.

Can a material exhibit both paramagnetism and diamagnetism?

All materials show some diamagnetism, but paramagnetism dominates in those with unpaired electrons.

Do paramagnetic materials retain their magnetism?

No, they do not retain magnetism once the external magnetic field is removed.

Does the strength of a magnetic field affect paramagnetism?

Yes, the alignment of unpaired electrons is influenced by the strength of the external field.

How does paramagnetism differ from diamagnetism?

Paramagnetism is when materials are attracted to magnetic fields, whereas diamagnetism involves repulsion.

Are humans diamagnetic or paramagnetic?

Humans are generally considered diamagnetic, but certain elements within can show paramagnetic behaviors.

What does "magnetic susceptibility" mean in the context of diamagnetism?

It refers to the degree to which a material responds to an external magnetic field. Diamagnetic materials have negative susceptibility.

In what way is paramagnetism related to atomic structure?

It's related to the presence of unpaired electrons in the atomic or molecular structure of materials.

Is diamagnetism a strong form of magnetism?

No, it's generally weaker than other forms of magnetism.

Can paramagnetic materials become permanent magnets?

No, they only show magnetic behavior in the presence of an external field.

How does electron arrangement affect diamagnetism?

Diamagnetism results from materials having all paired electrons.

What is the significance of unpaired electrons in paramagnetism?

They lead to a net magnetic moment, resulting in attraction to magnetic fields.

How does diamagnetism compare to ferromagnetism?

Diamagnetism is weaker than both paramagnetism and ferromagnetism.

Is aluminum paramagnetic or diamagnetic?

Aluminum is paramagnetic due to its unpaired electrons.

What happens to a diamagnetic material in a magnetic field?

It gets repelled from the field.

Can the effects of diamagnetism be seen in everyday life?

While present in all materials, the effects of diamagnetism are usually too weak to be noticed in everyday life.

What causes paramagnetism in materials?

Unpaired electrons in materials cause paramagnetism.

What's an example of a diamagnetic material?

Bismuth is an example of a strongly diamagnetic material.

What's an example of a paramagnetic substance?

Platinum is a known paramagnetic substance.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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