They don’t make refrigerator magnets anymore – or do they??? SOLUTION INSIDE->

When I go to local racing events, 5K to marathon, I always hassle the people with display tables (they are basically advertising their wares) for refrigerator magnets. Now, apparently, the grade of stainless steel used in modern refrigerators is not as magnetic as what they used to use in the past. (Wait, what? Yeah, I know, I read an explanation in this forum

You got to know your grades of SS.
A bare minimum of 12% chromium added will be enough to create stainless, but it will rust fairly easily.
Up that to 18% and you have 304 grade. It will form a self-protective oxide coating and will not rust. The iron retains its body-centred-cubic crystal structure and is still ferromagnetic. The problem is that 304 is not that malleable. Good luck drawing a deep sink out of that stuff.
Enter 316 grade. 18% Chromium, 8% nickel, malleable and ductile. Problem is that it has a different crystal structure (fcc) and magnets won’t stick to it. It tends to look a bit more attractive too and resists scratching a bit better.

I am not sure what grades are used for modern kitchen appliances these days. Suffice to say that if it doesn’t attract a magnet then it is austenitic stainless steel (fcc crystal structure) similar to 316 and likely has a high nickel content. Now, there is not so much bending and folding involved in the manufacture of fridge doors that 316 is actually necessary. It is likely the metal was chosen for its cosmetic properties.

So you chose a pretty fridge with a shiny front made from an alloy developed for its mechanical properties but chosen in this instance for its cosmetic properties. There aren’t any easy solutions other than sticking something on the front. You could try some Blu-Tack.

re why the grade of stainless steel affects its ability to hold a magnet – I thought iron was iron, and was magnetic, but I’m just a CPA, what the fuck do I know?).

Here’s the solution: MAGNETIC TAPE FROM 3M!!!!

John V. Karavitis


About johnvkaravitis

Senior Financial Analyst: Energy, Insurance, IT consulting, Pharmaceuticals, Publishing, Real Estate
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