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Definition of silver

Silver (Ag) - white metal, very plastic, ductile and malleable; it can be cut with a knife. Silver is firmer than gold, but softer than copper. It can be very well polished, has the highest reflectivity, and the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals. The density of silver is10.50, melting point: 960.5°C

Silver is resistant to the action of moist environment does not react with organic acids, alkalis, nitrogen, carbon; it is oxygen resistant. Silver is also resistant to the action of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids. Diluted sulfuric acid does not dissolve it. Aqua regia, which dissolves gold, forms a protective film on the silver surface. However, prolonged exposure to air, make silver gradually darken under the action of hydrogen sulfide in the air. Silver readily combines with sulfur. Ozone also forms black patina on the surface of the silver. Chlorine, bromine, iodine react with it, even at room temperature. Silver is easily dissolved in nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric when heated. Silver is soluble in cyanide alkali, well aggregates with mercury forming silver amalgam.

In nature, silver forms more than 60 minerals in a different state, basically in the sulfur compounds with high silver content (87%). However, despite the large amount of silver minerals in ores, they are found in small quantities, often scattered among other minerals. Metallic silver occurs much less frequently than free gold, because it easier forms compounds with other elements. Metallic silver is a natural alloy of gold, copper, iron, bismuth, mercury, platinum, and other elements. It occurs as irregular grains, plates, leaves, wire and thread-like shaped buildups. Large nuggets are very rare and can reach hundreds of pounds.

The main sources of silver are complex ores of nonferrous metals, of which silver is extracted together with lead, zinc, copper, nickel, gold and uranium. Silver is extracted from silver-bearing minerals like gold by amalgamation and cyanidation, depending on the nature of the raw material. The resulting product is subjected to refining. The principle of refining consists in dissolving silver on the anode and deposition of its crystals on the cathode. Silver deposition after filtering and washing is exposed to melting process. Insoluble anode mud containing gold and platinum is further processed. Refined silver is available in bullions of different weight, in powder and granules. The purity of silver can reach 99.9999%.

Due to its unique properties: high electrical and thermal conductivity, reflectivity, light sensitivity, etc.; silver has a very wide range of applications. It is used in jewelry, photography, electronics, electrical engineering, precision instrumentation, rocketry, medicine, for protective and decorative coatings, for the manufacture of coins, medals and other memorabilia items.

While gold in antiquity was called the Sun metal, silver was considered the Moon metal. The word "silver", apparently, comes from the Assyrian "Sarpu". One meaning of this word is “hammer”, and the other – “moon”. Lapis - silver nitrate has been called "moonstone" and in ancient times it was used for nervous system and epilepsy treatment.

Silver is a white metal, which has such properties as luster, malleability, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity. Silver is very plastic, can be made in sheets of about 0.25 microns thick. The density of silver is 10.53 grams per cubic centimeter, melting point - 963°C, its boiling temperature - 2865 degrees C. Silver reacts with acids – it is dissolved in nitric and sulfuric acids. With aqua regia, it forms insoluble silver chloride AgCl.

It is stable to the action of alkalis, organic and mineral acids, but it dulls if there is a small amount of hydrogen sulfide in the air. In order to prevent it,  silver is covered with rhodium, the color difference being almost unnoticeable.