Silver (Ag)

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Silver 47Ag107.870

Known to ancient civilizations

[Anglo-saxon: siolfur = silver; Latin: argentum]

French: argent
German: Silber
Italian: argento
Spanish: plata

Description: Silver is a soft, malleable metal with a characteristic silver sheen when polished. It is stable to water and oxygen but is slowly attacked by sulfur compounds in the air to form a black sulfide layer. Silver dissolves in H2SO4 and HNO3. The metal is used for siverware, jewellery, mirrors and in the electrical industry because of its exellent conductivity; silver salts are used in photography.


Silver single crystal properties

State: Single crystal
Crystal structure: fcc
Production method: Czochralski
Standard size: diameter 8-20mm
thickness 1-2mm
Orientation: (100), (110) and (111)
Orientation accuracy: <2°, <1°, <0.4° or <0.1°
Polishing: s cut, one or two sides polished
Roughness of surface: <0.03µm
Purity: 99.999%
Typical analysis (ppm): Au 1 Cu 2 Fe 2 Ni 1 Ag balance Al, Cd, Mg, Mn, Pt, Pd are below the detection limit

Materials properties

Density: 10.5 g/cm3
Melting point: 961.93 °C / 1235.08 °K
Boiling point: 2211.85 °C / 2485 °K
Molar volume: 10.27 cm3
Thermal conductivity: 429 [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 19.2 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 1.59x10-8 [293 K] Wm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -2.27 x 10-9(s) kg-1m3<
Young's modulus: 82.7 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 30.3 GPa
Bulk modulus: 103.6 GPa
Poisson's ratio: 0.367
Radii: Ag2+ 89; Ag+ 113; atomic 144
Electronegativity: 1.93 (Pauling); 1.42 (Allred); 4.44 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 4.20 (Slater); 8.03 (Clementi); 11.35 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 46
Issotope mass range: 96 -> 122
Crystal structure, (cell dimentions / pm), space group f.c.c. (a=408.626), Fm3m
X-ray diffraction: mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 218 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 63.6


Biological data

Biological role: none, especially toxic to lower organisms
Toxic intake: soluble salts, ingestion, human = 1 g
Lethal intake: LD50 (nitrate, oral, mouse)=50 mg kg-1
Hazards: Soluble silver salts irritate the skin and mucous membranes and can cause death if ingested even in small doses. Silver is a suspected carcinogen
Level in humans  
Blood: <0.003 mg dm-3
Bone: 0.01 - 0.44 p.p.m.
Liver: 0.005 - 0.25 p.p.m.
Muscle: 0.009 - 0.28 p.p.m.
Daily dietary intake: 0.0014 - 0.08 mg
Total mass of element in average [70 kg] person: 2 mg


Geological data

MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Acanthite Ag2S 7.2 2 - 2.5 mon., met. black -lead grey
Chlorargyrite AgCl 5.556 2.5 cub., res./adam. col./grey
Polybasite (Cu, Ag)16Sb2S11 6.1 2 - 3 mon., met. black
Stephanite Ag5SbS4 6.26 2 - 2.5 orth., met. black


Chief ore: acanthite, stephanite
World production: 9950 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: acanthite in Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, stephanite in Canada. Silver is obtained as a by-product in the refining of other metals such as copper.
Reserves: 1 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as crystals, flake, foil, granules, powder, rod, wire or wool. Safe.


Sun: 7.1 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 0.07 p.p.m.
Seawater: Atlantic surface: n.a. Atlantic deep: n.a. Pacific surface: 1 x 10-7 p.p.m. Pacific deep: 24 x 10-7 p.p.m.
Residence time: 5000 years
Classification: recycled
Oxidation state: I

Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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