General Question

erichw1504's avatar

Why are refrigerators magnetic on the outside?

Asked by erichw1504 (26341 points ) September 16th, 2009

Is there a real reason behind the magentic outside of a fridge? Do they have to be magnetic? Or are they manufactured that way just as a place for all our magnets we got from vacations and as gifts? Are there any that aren’t magnetic?

How many magnets do you have on the outside of your fridge?

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19 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

They aren’t.

filmfann's avatar

They are made of a metal that magnets are attracted to. They are not magnetic.

grumpyfish's avatar

They’ve been traditionally made of sheet steel—thus magnetic. The current trend in high end kitchens of having stainless steel (non-magnetic) fronts, means that a lot of them don’t—causing fashion-conscious parents to need to find other places to hang up kid’s artwork =)

J0E's avatar

The magents are the magnetic part not the fridge.

sandystrachan's avatar

My pots and pans stick to my fridges magnets
Is there not a magnet on the back or someparts inside are magnetic ? .
The fridge case is metal , magnets like metal .

J0E's avatar

This is a very educational thread. I always thought magnets were made of metal and everything else was magnets, but now I see it’s the other way around. I guess that’s why they call them magnets.

</sarcasm>

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

A refrigerator’s magnets are on the inside.

grumpyfish's avatar

@J0E “magnetic” refers both to magnets (which are already magnetized) and ferric materials that CAN be magnetized.

There are types of stainless steel called “non-magnetic” that cannot be attracted by magnets, and types of SS that are “magnetic” that can be attracted by magnets.

erichw1504's avatar

According to dictionary.com magnets are: “a body, as a piece of iron or steel, that possesses the property of attracting certain substances, as iron.”

And thanks @grumpyfish, now if only we could get back to the question at hand.

sandystrachan's avatar

So you can stick notes and childrens pictures ( drawings) to the fridge .
Helps keep the inside extra cool .

Janka's avatar

@erichw1504 : according to Merriam-Webster,
magnetic:
(adjective) 2 c : magnetized or capable of being magnetized

Original question was answered; fridges attract magnets because they are made of a material that is ferromagnetic. They are not magnets themselves, and hence do not pull e.g. iron nails into them.

erichw1504's avatar

@Janka I never said they were magnets, just magnetic. I think everyone knows what I mean, I’m sorry it wasn’t politically or scientifically correct. Just wondering why fridges are like that. Phew…

robmandu's avatar

I think that most refrigerators are magnetic by happy chance as they’re typically fabricated with steel (a ferrous metal). People and their magnetic picture frames, calendars, etc. came along later.

Nowadays, I’d surmise that the design process and metal selection of most mass-produced refrigerators probably includes the magnetic base as a key factor.

I have stainless steel model where the doors are not magnetic. However, the sides of the refrigerator are made out of normal steel and hence are magnetic.

Custom materials, like wood, can be employed on your refrigerator (or other appliance) to have a more integrated look with the rest of your kitchen. Unless an underlying ferrous base is used, likely most such materials also would not be magnetic.

CMaz's avatar

The reason for that is so no one can get locked in a refrigerator.

They use to have a locking handle. Children have been know to get inside then suffocate since they could not get out. The magnetic strip has corrected for that.

YARNLADY's avatar

Refrigerators have evolved from being made out of wood – the old ice-chest design – to being made of steel. The interiors have been using plastic for many years and now many are replacing the outer, painted metal door with plastic to provide greater freedom of design, lighter weight, and potentially lower costs to the consumer.

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

Refrigerators are made out of metal bodies from outside and every metal body gets exposed to leakage flux and eddy current gets induced on the metal body.Sometimes this leads to alingment of the poles and as a result the outer body behaves like a magnet.

food's avatar

I hope this isn´t too off topic, (should I make this a new,separate question?) but has anyone read an email that says that having too many magnets on your fridge is bad for your health? My common sense told me that the email was probably a hoax, but I´m just curious…. (sandystrachan´s funny answer made me think of it…)

food's avatar

Oh and by the way I gave you a point for great question, and some of these answers are quite funny (in spite of the fact that I didn´t know the answer myself)

kritiper's avatar

The seal on the door is magnetic to form a tight seal when closed. It probably magnifies the entire steel door as well.

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