Wikijunior:The Elements/Silver

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Shows the position of Silver on the periodic chart.
Silver's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit | edit source]

A nugget of silver.

Silver is a soft metal that has a brilliant, white luster. Silver is a little harder than gold. Silver looks a bit like granite when it has been mined.

Silver has a sweet and sour taste.

How was it discovered?[edit | edit source]

Silver has been known since ancient times. Silver was mentioned in the Genesis chapter of the Bible. Man learned how to separate silver from lead in Asia Minor and islands on the Aegean Sea starting in 3,000 B.C.

Where did its name come from?[edit | edit source]

Silver gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon seolfor. In Latin, silver was called argentum. Have you heard of the country Argentina? Well, the Spanish at first went to Argentina in search of silver, and that is why that country has been named so.

Did You Know?

  • Silver conducts electricity better than all other metals.
  • Silver is the whitest metal.
  • Silver is the best known reflector of visible light.

Where is it found?[edit | edit source]

Mexico is currently the world's largest producer of silver. Other major silver producing countries include Canada, Peru and the United States.

Silver is found in ores such as argentite, light ruby silver, dark ruby silver and brittle silver.

What are its uses?[edit | edit source]

Silver has been used in jewelry, tableware, and in silver medals. Silver has been used in coin production for centuries. Silver is also used in some mirrors, but these mirrors must be given a protective coating in order to keep them from tarnishing. High energy batteries are made using a combination of silver and zinc or silver and cadmium.

Silver bromide (AgBr) is used to make film. So is silver nitrate (AgNO3), which is a light sensitive compound used to make photographic films and papers. Printed circuits are made using silver based paint. Silver chloride can be made transparent and can also be used as a cement for glass.

Silver can be used to conduct electricity and is better at conducting electricity than any other metal.

Silver iodide (AgI) can be used to make clouds produce rain. It is also used in photography.

Is it dangerous?[edit | edit source]

Pure silver does not have any health risk, but if mixed with other elements can cause cancer. Silver salts are poisonous. If silver compounds are absorbed by the circulatory system, this can cause a condition known as argyria — a graying of skin pigmentation and mucous membranes.

References[edit | edit source]