Silver (Ag) - Properties, Applications

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Physical Properties
Mechanical Properties
Thermal Properties


Silver is a chemical element with Ag as its symbol. It belongs to group 11 of the periodic table and its atomic number is 47.

Silver is lustrous, soft, very ductile and malleable metal. It has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, but it is not widely used for electrical purposes as it is very expensive. Silver is not a chemically active metal; however nitric acid and hot concentrated sulfuric acid will react with it.

Silver can be obtained from pure deposits as well as from silver ores such as horn silver and argentite. It can also be obtained as a by-product along with deposits of ores containing gold, copper, or lead.

Silver does not oxidize in air; however it reacts with hydrogen sulfide in the air, causing the metal to tarnish due to the formation of silver sulfide. Hence silver products require regular cleaning. Silver is stable in water.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of silver are provided in the table below.

Chemical Data
CAS number 7440-22-4
Thermal neutron cross section 63 barns/atom
Electrode potential 0.799 V
Ionic radius 0.89 Å
Electronegativity 1.93
X-ray absorption edge 0.4858 Å
Electrochemical equivalent 4.025 g/A/h

Physical Properties

The following table discusses the physical properties of silver.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 10.50 g/cm3 0.379 lb/in3
Melting point 962°C 1764°F
Boiling point 2212°C 4014°F

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of silver are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile strength 140 MPa 20300 psi
Poisson’s ratio 0.37 0.37
Modulus of elasticity 76 GPa 11000 ksi
Shear modulus 27.8 GPa 4030 ksi
Hardness, Vickers 25 25

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of silver are tabulated below.

Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion co-efficient (@20-100°C/68-212°F) 19.6 µm/m°C 10.9 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity 419 W/mK 2910 BTU in/hr.ft².°F


The following are the application areas of silver:

  • In photography
  • In dentistry
  • As cutlery and mirrors
  • As a catalyst in oxidation reactions
  • In high-capacity zinc long-life batteries
  • As a precious metal to make coins and jewelry
  • In electrical and electronic industries for items such as printed circuits and computer keyboards

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