| IUPAC name |
Silver(I) nitrate, Silver nitrate
|Other names |
Nitric acid silver(1+) salt
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||169.872 g·mol−1|
|Density||4.35 g/cm3 (24 °C)|
3.97 g/cm3 (210 °C)
|Melting point||209.7 °C (409.5 °F; 482.8 K)|
|Boiling point||440 °C (824 °F; 713 K)|
|122 g/100 mL (0 °C)|
170 g/100 mL (10 °C)
256 g/100 mL (25 °C)
373 g/100 mL (40 °C)
912 g/100 mL (100 °C)
|Solubility||Soluble in acetone, ammonia, ether, glycerol|
|Solubility in acetic acid||0.776 g/kg (30 °C)|
1.244 g/kg (40 °C)
5.503 g/kg (93 °C)
|Solubility in acetone||0.35 g/100 g (14 °C)|
0.44 g/100 g (18 °C)
|Solubility in benzene||0.22 g/kg (35 °C)|
0.44 g/kg (40.5 °C)
|Solubility in ethanol||3.1 g/100 g (19 °C)|
|Solubility in ethyl acetate||2.7 g/100 g (20 °C)|
Refractive index (nD)
|Viscosity||3.77 cP (244 °C)|
3.04 cP (275 °C)
|P212121, No. 19|
α = 90°, β = 90°, γ = 90°
Heat capacity (C)
Std enthalpy of
Gibbs free energy (ΔfG˚)
|D08AL01 ( WHO )|
|Main hazards||Reacts explosively with ethanol. Toxic. Corrosive.|
|GHS Signal word||Danger|
|H272, H314, H410|
|P220, P273, P280, P305+351+338, P310, P501|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LDLo (lowest published)
|800 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)|
20 mg/kg (dog, oral)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula AgNO
3. This compound is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography. It is far less sensitive to light than the halides. It was once called lunar caustic because silver was called luna by the ancient alchemists, who associated silver with the moon.
In solid silver nitrate, the silver ions are three-coordinated in a trigonal planar arrangement.
Albertus Magnus, in the 13th century, documented the ability of nitric acid to separate gold and silver by dissolving the silver. Magnus noted that the resulting solution of silver nitrate could blacken skin.
Silver nitrate can be prepared by reacting silver, such as silver bullion or silver foil, with nitric acid, resulting in silver nitrate, water, and oxides of nitrogen. Reaction byproducts depend upon the concentration of nitric acid used.
This is performed under a fume hood because of toxic nitrogen oxides evolved during the reaction.
A typical reaction with silver nitrate is to suspend a rod of copper in a solution of silver nitrate and leave it for a few hours. The silver nitrate reacts with copper to form hairlike crystals of silver metal and a blue solution of copper nitrate:
Silver nitrate decomposes when heated:
Qualitatively, decomposition is negligible below the melting point, but becomes appreciable around 250 °C and totally decompose at 440 °C.
Most metal nitrates thermally decompose to the respective oxides, but silver oxide decomposes at a lower temperature than silver nitrate, so the decomposition of silver nitrate yields elemental silver instead.
Silver nitrate is the least expensive salt of silver; it offers several other advantages as well. It is non-hygroscopic, in contrast to silver fluoroborate and silver perchlorate. It is relatively stable to light. Finally, it dissolves in numerous solvents, including water. The nitrate can be easily replaced by other ligands, rendering AgNO3 versatile. Treatment with solutions of halide ions gives a precipitate of AgX (X = Cl, Br, I). When making photographic film, silver nitrate is treated with halide salts of sodium or potassium to form insoluble silver halide in situ in photographic gelatin, which is then applied to strips of tri-acetate or polyester. Similarly, silver nitrate is used to prepare some silver-based explosives, such as the fulminate, azide, or acetylide, through a precipitation reaction.
Treatment of silver nitrate with base gives dark grey silver oxide:
The silver cation, Ag+
, reacts quickly with halide sources to produce the insoluble silver halide, which is a cream precipitate if Br- is used, a white precipitate if Cl−
is used and a yellow precipitate if I−
is used. This reaction is commonly used in inorganic chemistry to abstract halides:
, or I−
Other silver salts with non-coordinating anions, namely silver tetrafluoroborate and silver hexafluorophosphate are used for more demanding applications.
Similarly, this reaction is used in analytical chemistry to confirm the presence of chloride, bromide, or iodide ions. Samples are typically acidified with dilute nitric acid to remove interfering ions, e.g. carbonate ions and sulfide ions. This step avoids confusion of silver sulfide or silver carbonate precipitates with that of silver halides. The color of precipitate varies with the halide: white (silver chloride), pale yellow/cream (silver bromide), yellow (silver iodide). AgBr and especially AgI photo-decompose to the metal, as evidence by a grayish color on exposed samples.
The same reaction was used on steamships in order to determine whether or not boiler feedwater had been contaminated with seawater. It is still used to determine if moisture on formerly dry cargo is a result of condensation from humid air, or from seawater leaking through the hull.
Silver nitrate is used in many ways in organic synthesis, e.g. for deprotection and oxidations. Ag+
binds alkenes reversibly, and silver nitrate has been used to separate mixtures of alkenes by selective absorption. The resulting adduct can be decomposed with ammonia to release the free alkene. Silver Nitrate is highly soluble in water but is poorly soluble in most organic solvents, except acetonitrile (111.8 mg/100 g, 25°C).
In histology, silver nitrate is used for silver staining, for demonstrating reticular fibers, proteins and nucleic acids. For this reason it is also used to demonstrate proteins in PAGE gels. It can be used as a stain in scanning electron microscopy.
Silver salts have antiseptic properties. In 1881 Credé introduced the use of dilute solutions of AgNO3 in newborn babies' eyes at birth to prevent contraction of gonorrhea from the mother, which could cause blindness. (Modern antibiotics are now used instead.)
Fused silver nitrate, shaped into sticks, was traditionally called "lunar caustic". It is used as a cauterizing agent, for example to remove granulation tissue around a stoma. General Sir James Abbott noted in his journals that in India in 1827 it was infused by a British surgeon into wounds in his arm resulting from the bite of a mad dog to cauterize the wounds and prevent the onset of rabies.
Silver nitrate is used to cauterize superficial blood vessels in the nose to help prevent nose bleeds.
Dentists sometimes use silver nitrate-infused swabs to heal oral ulcers. Silver nitrate is used by some podiatrists to kill cells located in the nail bed.
The Canadian physician C. A. Douglas Ringrose researched the use of silver nitrate for sterilization procedures, believing that silver nitrate could be used to block and corrode the fallopian tubes.The technique was ineffective.
Much research has been done in evaluating the ability of the silver ion at inactivating Escherichia coli , a microorganism commonly used as an indicator for fecal contamination and as a surrogate for pathogens in drinking water treatment. Concentrations of silver nitrate evaluated in inactivation experiments range from 10–200 micrograms per liter as Ag+. Silver's antimicrobial activity saw many applications prior to the discovery of modern antibiotics, when it fell into near disuse. Its association with argyria made consumers wary and led them to turn away from it when given an alternative.
Repeated daily application of silver nitrate can induce adequate destruction of cutaneous warts, but occasionally pigmented scars may develop. In a placebo-controlled study of 70 patients, silver nitrate given over nine days resulted in clearance of all warts in 43% and improvement in warts in 26% one month after treatment compared to 11% and 14%, respectively, in the placebo group.
As an oxidant, silver nitrate should be properly stored away from organic compounds. Despite its common usage in extremely low concentrations to prevent gonorrhea and control nose bleeds, silver nitrate is still very toxic and corrosive.Brief exposure will not produce any immediate side effects other than the purple, brown or black stains on the skin, but upon constant exposure to high concentrations, side effects will be noticeable, which include burns. Long-term exposure may cause eye damage. Silver nitrate is known to be a skin and eye irritant. Silver nitrate has not been thoroughly investigated for potential carcinogenic effect.
Silver nitrate is currently unregulated in water sources by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. However, if more than 1 gram of silver is accumulated in the body, a condition called argyria may develop. Argyria is a permanent cosmetic condition in which the skin and internal organs turn a blue-gray color. The United States Environmental Protection Agency used to have a maximum contaminant limit for silver in water until 1990, when it was determined that argyria did not impact the function of any affected organs despite the discolouration.Argyria is more often associated with the consumption of colloidal silver solutions rather than with silver nitrate, since it is only used at extremely low concentrations to disinfect the water. However, it is still important to be wary before ingesting any sort of silver-ion solution.
Nitric acid (HNO3), also known as aqua fortis (Latin for "strong water") and spirit of niter, is a highly corrosive mineral acid.
Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.
In chemistry, a salt is a solid chemical compound consisting of an ionic assembly of cations and anions. Salts are composed of related numbers of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral. These component ions can be inorganic, such as chloride (Cl−), or organic, such as acetate ; and can be monatomic, such as fluoride (F−) or polyatomic, such as sulfate.
Precipitation is the creation of a solid from a solution. When the reaction occurs in a liquid solution, the solid formed is called the 'precipitate'. The chemical that causes the solid to form is called the 'precipitant'. Without sufficient force of gravity (settling) to bring the solid particles together, the precipitate remains in suspension. After sedimentation, especially when using a centrifuge to press it into a compact mass, the precipitate may be referred to as a 'pellet'. Precipitation can be used as a medium. The precipitate-free liquid remaining above the solid is called the 'supernate' or 'supernatant'. Powders derived from precipitation have also historically been known as 'flowers'. When the solid appears in the form of cellulose fibers which have been through chemical processing, the process is often referred to as regeneration.
Dinitrogen pentoxide is the chemical compound with the formula N2O5. Also known as nitrogen pentoxide, N2O5 is one of the binary nitrogen oxides, a family of compounds that only contain nitrogen and oxygen. It is an unstable and potentially dangerous oxidizer that once was used as a reagent when dissolved in chloroform for nitrations but has largely been superseded by NO2BF4 (nitronium tetrafluoroborate).
Silver chloride is a chemical compound with the chemical formula AgCl. 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.
Barium nitrate is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ba(NO3)2. It, like most barium salts, is colorless, toxic, and water-soluble. It burns with a green flame and is an oxidizer; the compound is commonly used in pyrotechnics.
Silver perchlorate is the chemical compound with the formula AgClO4. This white solid forms a monohydrate and is mildly deliquescent. It is a useful source of the Ag+ ion, although the presence of perchlorate presents risks. It is used as a catalyst in organic chemistry.
Reaction in which two compounds in their aqueous solution react to form two new product by interchanging their radicals or ions is called a double decomposition reaction or double displacement reaction
Silver(I) oxide is the chemical compound with the formula Ag2O. It is a fine black or dark brown powder that is used to prepare other silver compounds.
A nitrate test is a chemical test used to determine the presence of nitrate ion in solution. Testing for the presence of nitrate via wet chemistry is generally difficult compared with testing for other anions, as almost all nitrates are soluble in water. In contrast, many common ions give insoluble salts, e.g. halides precipitate with silver, and sulfate precipitate with barium.
Zinc nitrate is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula Zn(NO3)2. This white, crystalline solid is highly deliquescent and is typically encountered as a hexahydrate Zn(NO3)2•6H2O. It is soluble in both water and alcohol.
Cadmium nitrate describes any of the related members of a family of inorganic compounds with the general formula , the most commonly encountered form being the tetrahydrate. The anhydrous form is volatile, but the others are colourless crystalline solids that are deliquescent, tending to absorb enough moisture from the air to form an aqueous solution. Like other cadmium compounds, cadmium nitrate is known to be carcinogenic.
Bromous acid is the inorganic compound with the formula of HBrO2. It is an unstable compound, although salts of its conjugate base – bromites – have been isolated. In acidic solution, bromites decompose to bromine.
Cadmium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula Cd(OH)2. It is a white crystalline ionic compound that is a key component of NiCd batteries.
Silver phosphate or silver orthophosphate is a light sensitive, yellow, water-insoluble chemical compound composed of silver and phosphate ions of formula Ag3PO4.
Compounds of lead exist in two main oxidation states: +2 and +4. The former is more common. Inorganic lead(IV) compounds are typically strong oxidants or exist only in highly acidic solutions.
Bismuth(III) nitrate is a salt composed of bismuth in its cationic +3 oxidation state and nitrate anions. The most common solid form is the pentahydrate. It is used in the synthesis of other bismuth compounds. It is available commercially. It is the only nitrate salt formed by a group 15 element, indicative of bismuth's metallic nature.
Thorium(IV) nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula Th(NO3)4. A white solid in its anhydrous form, it can form tetra- and pentahydrates. As a compound of thorium it is weakly radioactive.
Silver(I) hyponitrite is an ionic compound with formula Ag
2 or (Ag+
)2[ON=NO]2−, containing monovalent silver cations and hyponitrite anions. It is a bright canary yellow solid practically insoluble in water and most organic solvents, including DMF and DMSO.
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