Silver (Ag) is a chemical element placed in group eleven of the periodic table and has the atomic number forty seven. It is known to possess the highest electric conductivity and thermal conductivity among all metals. This makes is a very useful element in electrical applications. However, silver is rare and expensive to obtain.
REACTIVITY & PROPERTIES
Categorized as a noble metal, silver can resist corrosion and oxidation to a great extent. But not as well as gold. It is prone to tarnish upon prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide in the air which reacts with silver to create silver sulfide. It remains stable under water. By nature it is ductile, malleable, soft and lustrous. It is not a chemically reactive metal but is known to react to nitric acid and hot concentrated sulfuric acid.
Estimated production of silver around the world is 20000 tons per year. It is obtained through mining of ores like chlorargyrite (horn silver) and argentite. Other methods of procuring silver are during the electrolyte refining of copper and as a byproduct of mining for copper, nickel and gold ores.
Due to its unsurpassed electric and thermal conductivity, silver is widely used to manufacture electrical switches for electronics goods, consumer appliances and automobiles. It is also used to make high power, light weight batteries which can function in high temperatures.
Recent technological innovation has popularized the use of nano silver in printed electronics to make nano conductive inks. Being highly reflective also makes silver an important element for use in photography, harnessing solar energy and manufacturing mirrors.
One of the most popular uses of silver is in the making of jewelry and precious silverware.
Available in greater abundance than gold, it has been used prevalently as currency in the past. Even today, it retains great value as a commodity and people invest extensively in silver through stocks and mutual funds.
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