Silver chloride

Last updated
Chlorid stribrny.PNG
IUPAC name
Silver(I) chloride
Other names
Horn silver
Argentous chloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.121 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
PubChem CID
RTECS number
  • VW3563000
  • InChI=1S/Ag.ClH/h;1H/q+1;/p-1 Yes check.svgY
  • InChI=1S/Ag.ClH/h;1H/q+1;/p-1
  • Cl[Ag]
Molar mass 143.32 g·mol−1
AppearanceWhite Solid
Density 5.56 g cm3
Melting point 455 °C (851 °F; 728 K)
Boiling point 1,547 °C (2,817 °F; 1,820 K)
520 μg/100 g at 50 °C
1.77×1010 [1]
Solubility soluble in NH3, conc. HCl, conc. H2SO4, alkali cyanide, (NH4)2CO3, KBr, Na2S2O3;

insoluble in alcohol, dilute acids.

49.0·10−6 cm3/mol
96 J·mol−1·K−1 [2]
−127 kJ·mol−1 [2]
Safety data sheet Fischer Scientific, Salt Lake Metals
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Related compounds
Other anions
silver(I) fluoride, silver bromide, silver iodide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
X mark.svgN  verify  (what is  Yes check.svgYX mark.svgN ?)
Infobox references

Silver chloride is a chemical compound with the chemical formula Ag Cl. This white crystalline solid is well known for its low solubility in water (this behavior being reminiscent of the chlorides of Tl+ and Pb2+). Upon illumination or heating, silver chloride converts to silver (and chlorine), which is signaled by grey to black or purplish coloration to some samples. AgCl occurs naturally as a mineral chlorargyrite.



Silver chloride is unusual in that, unlike most chloride salts, it has very low solubility. It is easily synthesized by metathesis: combining an aqueous solution of silver nitrate (which is soluble) with a soluble chloride salt, such as sodium chloride or cobalt(II) chloride. The silver chloride that forms will precipitate immediately.

Structure and reactions

Silver chloride crystals AgCl crystalline.jpg
Silver chloride crystals
Pyramidal crystals of AgCl AgCl pyramidal.jpg
Pyramidal crystals of AgCl

The solid adopts the fcc NaCl structure, in which each Ag+ ion is surrounded by an octahedron of six chloride ligands. AgF and AgBr crystallize similarly. [3] However, the crystallography depends on the condition of crystallization, primarily free silver ion concentration, as is shown on the pictures left (greyish tint and metallic lustre are due to partly reduced silver). AgCl dissolves in solutions containing ligands such as chloride, cyanide, triphenylphosphine, thiosulfate, thiocyanate and ammonia. Silver chloride reacts with these ligands according to the following illustrative equations:

Silver chloride does not react with nitric acid. Most complexes derived from AgCl are two-, three-, and, in rare cases, four-coordinate, adopting linear, trigonal planar, and tetrahedral coordination geometries, respectively.

Above 2 reactions are particularly important in qualitative analysis of AgCl in labs as AgCl is white in colour, which changes to (silver arsenite) which is yellow in colour or (Silver arsenate) which is reddish brown in colour.


Silver chloride decomposes over time with exposure to UV light Decomposition of Silver Chloride.jpg
Silver chloride decomposes over time with exposure to UV light

In one of the most famous reactions in chemistry, addition of colorless aqueous silver nitrate to an equally colorless solution of sodium chloride produces an opaque white precipitate of AgCl: [4]

This conversion is a common test for the presence of chloride in solution. Due to its conspicuousness it is easily used in titration, which gives the typical case of argentometry.

The solubility product, Ksp, for AgCl in water is 1.77×10−10 at room temperature, which indicates that only 1.9 mg (that is, ) of AgCl will dissolve per liter of water. The chloride content of an aqueous solution can be determined quantitatively by weighing the precipitated AgCl, which conveniently is non-hygroscopic, since AgCl is one of the few transition metal chlorides that is unreactive toward water. Interfering ions for this test are bromide and iodide, as well as a variety of ligands (see silver halide). For AgBr and AgI, the Ksp values are 5.2 x 10−13 and 8.3 x 10−17, respectively. Silver bromide (slightly yellowish white) and silver iodide (bright yellow) are also significantly more photosensitive than is AgCl.

AgCl quickly darkens on exposure to light by disintegrating into elemental chlorine and metallic silver. This reaction is used in photography and film.


See also

Related Research Articles

Acid–base reaction Chemical reaction

An acid–base reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs between an acid and a base. It can be used to determine pH. Several theoretical frameworks provide alternative conceptions of the reaction mechanisms and their application in solving related problems; these are called the acid–base theories, for example, Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory.

Solubility equilibrium is a type of dynamic equilibrium that exists when a chemical compound in the solid state is in chemical equilibrium with a solution of that compound. The solid may dissolve unchanged, with dissociation or with chemical reaction with another constituent of the solution, such as acid or alkali. Each solubility equilibrium is characterized by a temperature-dependent solubility product which functions like an equilibrium constant. Solubility equilibria are important in pharmaceutical, environmental and many other scenarios.

Aqua regia Mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid in a 1:3 ratio

Aqua regia is a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, optimally in a molar ratio of 1:3. Aqua regia is a yellow-orange fuming liquid, so named by alchemists because it can dissolve the noble metals gold and platinum, though not all metals.

The chloride ion is the anion Cl. It is formed when the element chlorine gains an electron or when a compound such as hydrogen chloride is dissolved in water or other polar solvents. Chloride salts such as sodium chloride are often very soluble in water. It is an essential electrolyte located in all body liquids responsible for maintaining acid/base balance, transmitting nerve impulses and regulating liquid flow in and out of cells. Less frequently, the word chloride may also form part of the "common" name of chemical compounds in which one or more chlorine atoms are covalently bonded. For example, methyl chloride, with the standard name chloromethane is an organic compound with a covalent C−Cl bond in which the chlorine is not an anion.

Ammonium Polyatomic ion

The ammonium cation is a positively charged polyatomic ion with the chemical formula NH+
. It is formed by the protonation of ammonia. Ammonium is also a general name for positively charged or protonated substituted amines and quaternary ammonium cations, where one or more hydrogen atoms are replaced by organic groups.

Base (chemistry) Type of chemical substance

In chemistry, there are three definitions in common use of the word base, known as Arrhenius bases, Brønsted bases, and Lewis bases. All definitions agree that bases are substances which react with acids as originally proposed by G.-F. Rouelle in the mid-18th century.

Sodium carbonate Chemical compound

Sodium carbonate, Na2CO3·10H2O, (also known as Natrium Carbonate, washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals) is the inorganic compound with the formula Na2CO3 and its various hydrates. All forms are white, odourless, water-soluble salts that yield moderately alkaline solutions in water. Historically, it was extracted from the ashes of plants growing in sodium-rich soils. Because the ashes of these sodium-rich plants were noticeably different from ashes of wood (once used to produce potash), sodium carbonate became known as "soda ash". It is produced in large quantities from sodium chloride and limestone by the Solvay process.

A chemical equation is the symbolic representation of a chemical reaction in the form of symbols and formulae, wherein the reactant entities are given on the left-hand side and the product entities on the right-hand side with a plus sign between the entities in both the reactants and the products and an arrow that points towards the products, and shows the direction of the reaction. The coefficients next to the symbols and formulae of entities are the absolute values of the stoichiometric numbers. The first chemical equation was diagrammed by Jean Beguin in 1615.

Precipitation (chemistry) Chemical process leading to the settling of an insoluble solid from a solution

In aqueous solution, precipitation is the process of transforming a dissolved substance into an insoluble solid from a super-saturated solution. The solid formed is called the precipitate. In case of an inorganic chemical reaction leading to precipitation, the chemical reagent causing the solid to form is called the precipitant.

The common-ion effect refers to the decrease in solubility of an ionic precipitate by the addition to the solution of a soluble compound with an ion in common with the precipitate. This behaviour is a consequence of Le Chatelier's principle for the equilibrium reaction of the ionic association/dissociation. The effect is commonly seen as an effect on the solubility of salts and other weak electrolytes. Adding an additional amount of one of the ions of the salt generally leads to increased precipitation of the salt, which reduces the concentration of both ions of the salt until the solubility equilibrium is reached. The effect is based on the fact that both the original salt and the other added chemical have one ion in common with each other.

Iron(III) chloride Inorganic compound

Iron(III) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula. Also called ferric chloride, it is a common compound of iron in the +3 oxidation state. The anhydrous compound is a crystalline solid with a melting point of 307.6 °C. The color depends on the viewing angle: by reflected light the crystals appear dark green, but by transmitted light they appear purple-red.

Lead(II) chloride Chemical compound

Lead(II) chloride (PbCl2) is an inorganic compound which is a white solid under ambient conditions. It is poorly soluble in water. Lead(II) chloride is one of the most important lead-based reagents. It also occurs naturally in the form of the mineral cotunnite.

Classical qualitative inorganic analysis is a method of analytical chemistry which seeks to find the elemental composition of inorganic compounds. It is mainly focused on detecting ions in an aqueous solution, therefore materials in other forms may need to be brought to this state before using standard methods. The solution is then treated with various reagents to test for reactions characteristic of certain ions, which may cause color change, precipitation and other visible changes.

Tollens reagent

Tollens' reagent is a chemical reagent used to distinguish between aldehydes and ketone functional groups along with some alpha-hydroxy ketones which can tautomerize into aldehydes. The reagent consists of a solution of silver nitrate, ammonia and some sodium hydroxide. It was named after its discoverer, the German chemist Bernhard Tollens. A positive test with Tollens' reagent is indicated by the precipitation of elemental silver, often producing a characteristic "silver mirror" on the inner surface of the reaction vessel.

Tin(II) chloride Chemical compound

Tin(II) chloride, also known as stannous chloride, is a white crystalline solid with the formula SnCl2. It forms a stable dihydrate, but aqueous solutions tend to undergo hydrolysis, particularly if hot. SnCl2 is widely used as a reducing agent (in acid solution), and in electrolytic baths for tin-plating. Tin(II) chloride should not be confused with the other chloride of tin; tin(IV) chloride or stannic chloride (SnCl4).

A salt metathesis reaction, sometimes called a double replacement reaction, is a chemical process involving the exchange of bonds between two reacting chemical species which results in the creation of products with similar or identical bonding affiliations. This reaction is represented by the general scheme:

Silver chromate Chemical compound

Silver chromate is an inorganic compound with formula Ag2CrO4 which appears as distinctively coloured brown-red crystals. The compound is insoluble and its precipitation is indicative of the reaction between soluble chromate and silver precursor salts (commonly potassium/sodium chromate with silver nitrate). This reaction is important for two uses in the laboratory: in analytical chemistry it constitutes the basis for the Mohr method of argentometry, whereas in neuroscience it is used in the Golgi method of staining neurons for microscopy.

In analytical chemistry, argentometry is a type of titration involving the silver(I) ion. Typically, it is used to determine the amount of chloride present in a sample. The sample solution is titrated against a solution of silver nitrate of known concentration. Chloride ions react with silver(I) ions to give the insoluble silver chloride:

Metal halides

Metal halides are compounds between metals and halogens. Some, such as sodium chloride are ionic, while others are covalently bonded. A few metal halides are discrete molecules, such as uranium hexafluoride, but most adopt polymeric structures, such as palladium chloride.

In 2015, 251 million tubes of toothpaste were sold in the United States. A single tube holds roughly 170 grams of toothpaste, so approximately 43 kilotonnes of toothpaste get washed into the water systems annually. Toothpaste contains silver nanoparticles, also known as nanosilver or AgNPs, among other compounds.


  1. John Rumble (June 18, 2018). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (99 ed.). CRC Press. pp. 5–189. ISBN   978-1138561632.
  2. 1 2 Zumdahl, Steven S. (2009). Chemical Principles 6th Ed. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. A23. ISBN   978-0-618-94690-7.
  3. Wells, A.F. (1984) Structural Inorganic Chemistry, Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN   0-19-855370-6.
  4. More info on Chlorine test Archived December 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Silver Chloride (AgCl) Optical Material". Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved 2019-12-04.