Physical Properties of Silver

    Silver can be found a great deal in nature however the total amount that is at disposal is not as much in comparison to other metals. Due to the fact that is it scarce it is considered a precious metal. The chemical symbol for silver is Ag and this came from the Latin word “argentums” which means white and shining. Silver metal in its pure state has a luminous white metallic luster and it is slightly harder than gold and is very ductile and malleable. Silver is steady in pure air and water, but will become dull if it is exposed to ozone, hydrogen sulphide, or air containing sulphur as a consequence of the formation of a silver sulphide. Silver also has the highest electrical and heat conductivity of all metals and the lowest contact resistance. Cold working will decrease this conductivity. When heated beyond its boiling point, silver will boil off as a greenish vapor or steam.

    Silver is soluble in nitric acid and in hot sulphuric acid. There are three commercial types of silver that include: Fine silver, which is greater than 99.9 percent pure, Coin silver (which is a silver alloy) with 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, and Silver powder that comes in a number of forms such as amorphous powder, dentritic crystals, atomized powder, silver-clad powder, silver flake and nickel-coated silver powder. As opposed to gold, silver cannot normally be found in its pure form but compounded in ore that is mixed with lead, copper or zinc. How available it is therefore often times depends on the mining of other metals, with silver being a refining byproduct.