Silver as a catalyst in the industry sector

Silver is used as a catalyst in industry for the production of formaldehyde and ethylene oxide, for example.
In dentistry, silver is used in an alloy containing mercury (amalgam).
Because of its disinfecting properties, silver is nowadays also used to purify or keep clean drinking water. Especially for small amounts of water (up to 100 litres), silver (as silver nitrate) is easier to dose and apply than chlorine. Colloidal silver used to be used as an antibiotic in medicine, but is still used in alternative medicine.

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In the laboratory, silver nitrate is often used as a reagent in chloride determinations, including for precipitation titrations. The insoluble silver chloride is formed.

Silver is used as a silver halide in photography.
Finely atomized silver iodide is used to make rain and to reduce fog around airports. Silver iodide is responsible for the aggregation of small water droplets that form the clouds.

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Remarkable properties
Silver is an easy to work (bendable) metal that is slightly harder than gold and has a white sheen. Of all metals, silver has the best electrical conductivity and the lowest transition resistance, better than copper and gold. Gold, on the other hand, is used more often because it does not corrode. In addition, of all metals, silver conducts heat best and has the highest optical reflection (at least as far as visible light is concerned; ultraviolet light reflects badly). Silver halides are sensitive to light. The metal is stable in clean air and water, but when exposed to ozone or hydrogen sulphide it discolours. In the event that silver comes into contact with sulphur or its compounds, a black layer of silver sulphide forms.

Content
The lustre of silver makes it a sought-after metal for jewellery and silver objects such as cutlery, bowls, candlesticks and trays. These objects often have stamped quality marks such as: a year-letter mark, a master mark and a halt mark. The hallmark was issued after a test by a guarantee institution appointed by the government.

Usually the first and second silver contents are used. First content (925/1000) is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or another metal. In some English-speaking countries the term sterling is used for this purpose. The contents of silver objects that are guaranteed with approval marks in the Netherlands are as follows: 925/1000, 835/1000 (second content) and 800/1000.

The words new silver, old silver, German silver, hotel silver, mint silver, djokjazilver or other combinations with the word silver are not permitted for base metal objects such as alpaca or alloys below the legal silver content. The abbreviation BWG (below the legal content) indicates a silver content below 800.

Also in Belgium we distinguish: first content: 925 thousandths and second content: 835 thousandths. It should be noted that the silver content expressed in thousandths, is preceded by the symbolic letters AG (in capitals).

Outside the Netherlands and Belgium, silver-containing alloys with a lower silver content than sterling (925) are referred to as white metal. Silver with a second silver content (835) also falls into the category of white metal.

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In the late 18th and early 19th century, before being able to silverplate metal with the aid of electric current (electroplating), they produced utensils from Sheffield plate. This consisted of a layer of copper, which at the top and bottom was fused with a layer of silver. The stratification of the material was often hidden on the sides and corners. (e.g. with melted silver wire). The layers of silver on an old Sheffield plate are often considerably thicker than those found on objects that have been silvered in a modern way (electrolytic or galvanic).

Isotopes
Two stable isotopes (107Ag and 109Ag) of silver occur in nature in approximately the same proportion. In addition, there are approximately 28 radioactive isotopes, including silver-103, which are known to have halving times ranging from a few hundred years to a few minutes.

Most stable isotopes
Iso RA (%) Half-life VV VE (MeV) VP

107Ag 51,839 stable with 60 neutrons

108Ag syn 418 y EV 2,027 108Pd

109Ag 48,161 stable with 62 neutrons

Chemistry
Silver is in the periodic table in the same group as copper. Just like copper, silver has the valences 1+ and 2+, in addition to metallic silver. In contrast to copper, which occurs as a standard divalent ion, the most common silver ion is the univalent form. The divalent form is only stable next to very strong oxydators, for example in silver(II)fluoride. In complexometry, silver is a metal that can bind two ligands, for example in AgCl2-.

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