Facts about Silver Nitrate-WorldOfChemicals

Interesting facts about Silver Nitrate

Silver Nitrate

Silver nitrate is an inorganic chemical compound with formula AgNO3. Silver nitrate is basically silver salt, which has powerful antiseptic properties.

German Catholic Dominican friar Albertus Magnus, created silver nitrate in the 13th century. By dissolving the silver, he documented the nitric acid’s ability to separate gold and silver. Johann Shulze used silver nitrate for photography, for the first time in the 17th century.

Properties of Silver Nitrate:

  • It is a colorless, odorless solid crystalline compound.

  • Silver nitrate is soluble in water, acetone, ether, ammonia and glycerol.

  • Melting point: 209.7 Degree Celsius, boiling point: 440 Degree Celsius.

  • Molecular weight: 169.872 g/mol.

  • It has bitter, metallic taste and it is not flammable. It is an oxidising agent.

Preparation of Silver Nitrate:

Silver nitrate is prepared by adding silver in nitric acid in the presence of fresh air.

3Ag + 4HNO3 (cold and diluted) -> 3AgNO3 +H2O +NO

Ag + 2HNO3 (hot and concentrated) -> AgNO3 + H2O +NO2

Silver Nitrate Uses:

  • Acts as precursor to other silver compounds: Silver nitrate is combined with halide salts of potassium or sodium for forming insoluble silver halide in situ in photographic gelatine, which is then applied to polyester or tri-acetate strips, while making photographic film.Silver nitrate reacts with chloride, bromide and iodine to produce white, cream and yellow colored solids. Silver nitrate is also used in preparing some silver-based explosives through a precipitation reaction, such as the fulminate, acetylide or azide.

  • Organic synthesis: Silver nitrate is used in organic synthesis in many ways, such as for deprotection and oxidations. Silver nitrate is used to separate mixtures of alkenes by selective absorption as Ag+ binds alkenes reversibly.

  • Fighting warts: Daily application of silver nitrate helps in the destruction of warts, but regular use may develop scars.

  • In ceramics: Silver nitrate is used to make beautiful colors in a kiln during firing pottery.

  • In biology: Silver nitrate is used as a silver stain for proteins and nucleic acid. It can also be used as a stain in scanning electron microscopy.

Medical uses:

Some dentists use it to heal oral ulcers. Sometimes it is used to kill cells situated in the nail bed.

Silver nitrate is dropped into newborn babies eyes to prevent blindness.

It is also used in the nose to cauterize superficial blood vessels to help in preventing nose bleeding.


  • Silver nitrate is an oxidizing agent so it should be kept away from the chemicals that can burn.

  • Silver nitrate is very toxic and corrosive in nature. Constant exposure to higher concentration of this acid will produce noticeable side effects like burns, stains and eye damage.

  • A condition called argyria may get developed is there is more than 1 gram of silver accumulation in the body. Argyria is a condition in which skin and internal organs turn a blue-gray color.

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