Silver is 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 (“native silver”), 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.
|Element category||Transition Metal|
|Phase at STP||Solid|
|Ultimate Tensile Strength||110 MPa|
|Yield Strength||45 MPa|
|Young’s Modulus of Elasticity||83 GPa|
|Brinell Hardness||210 MPa|
|Vickers Hardness||251 MPa|
|Melting Point||961.78 °C|
|Boiling Point||2162 °C|
|Thermal Conductivity||430 W/mK|
|Thermal Expansion Coefficient||18.9 µm/mK|
|Specific Heat||0.235 J/g K|
|Heat of Fusion||11.3 kJ/mol|
|Heat of Vaporization||250.58 kJ/mol|
|Electrical resistivity [nanoOhm meter]||15.9|
|Magnetic Susceptibility||−19e-6 cm^3/mol|
Applications of Silver
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold. Silver has many important, far-reaching technological and electronic applications. It’s used in everything from cell phones, computers and semiconductors to automobiles, water-purification systems and—because it is the best conductor of heat of all elements—spacecraft solar radiation tiles. Silver is of the upmost importance in photography (where approximately 30% of the U.S. Industrial consumption goes into this application). The medical uses of silver include its use in wound dressings, creams, and as an antibiotic coating on medical devices. Wound dressings containing silver sulfadiazine or silver nanomaterials may be used on external infections.
Production and Price of Silver
Raw materials prices change daily. They are primarily driven by supply, demand and energy prices. In 2019, prices of pure Silver were at around 580 $/kg.
The principal sources of silver are the ores of copper, copper-nickel, lead, and lead-zinc obtained from Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, China, Australia, Chile, Poland and Serbia. Commercial-grade fine silver is at least 99.9% pure, and purities greater than 99.999% are available. In 2014, Mexico was the top producer of silver (5,000 tonnes or 18.7% of the world’s total of 26,800 t), followed by China (4,060 t) and Peru (3,780 t). Today, silver metal is primarily produced instead as a secondary byproduct of electrolytic refining of copper, lead, and zinc, and by application of the Parkes process on lead bullion from ore that also contains silver.
Mechanical Properties of Silver
Strength of Silver
In mechanics of materials, the strength of a material is its ability to withstand an applied load without failure or plastic deformation. Strength of materials basically considers the relationship between the external loads applied to a material and the resulting deformation or change in material dimensions. In designing structures and machines, it is important to consider these factors, in order that the material selected will have adequate strength to resist applied loads or forces and retain its original shape. Strength of a material is its ability to withstand this applied load without failure or plastic deformation.
For tensile stress, the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to elongate is known as ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Yield strength or yield stress is the material property defined as the stress at which a material begins to deform plastically whereas yield point is the point where nonlinear (elastic + plastic) deformation begins.
See also: Strength of Materials
Ultimate Tensile Strength of Silver
Ultimate tensile strength of Silver is 110 MPa.
Yield Strength of Silver
Yield strength of Silver is 45 MPa.
Modulus of Elasticity of Silver
The Young’s modulus of elasticity of Silver is 45 MPa.
Hardness of Silver
In materials science, hardness is the ability to withstand surface indentation (localized plastic deformation) and scratching. Brinell hardness test is one of indentation hardness tests, that has been developed for hardness testing. In Brinell tests, a hard, spherical indenter is forced under a specific load into the surface of the metal to be tested.
Brinell hardness of Silver is approximately 210 MPa.
The Vickers hardness test method was developed by Robert L. Smith and George E. Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials. The Vickers hardness test method can be also used as a microhardness test method, which is mostly used for small parts, thin sections, or case depth work.
Vickers hardness of Silver is approximately 251 MPa.
Scratch hardness is the measure of how resistant a sample is to permanent plastic deformation due to friction from a sharp object. The most common scale for this qualitative test is Mohs scale, which is used in mineralogy. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on the ability of one natural sample of mineral to scratch another mineral visibly.
Silver is has a hardness of approximately 3.25.
See also: Hardness of Materials
Silver – Crystal Structure
A possible crystal structure of Silver is face-centered cubic structure.
In metals, and in many other solids, the atoms are arranged in regular arrays called crystals. A crystal lattice is a repeating pattern of mathematical points that extends throughout space. The forces of chemical bonding causes this repetition. It is this repeated pattern which control properties like strength, ductility, density, conductivity (property of conducting or transmitting heat, electricity, etc.), and shape. There are 14 general types of such patterns known as Bravais lattices.
See also: Crystal Structure of Materials
Thermal Properties of Silver
Silver – Melting Point and Boiling Point
Melting point of Silver is 961.78°C.
Boiling point of Silver is 2162°C.
Note that, these points are associated with the standard atmospheric pressure.
Silver – Thermal Conductivity
Thermal conductivity of Silver is 430 W/(m·K).
The heat transfer characteristics of a solid material are measured by a property called the thermal conductivity, k (or λ), measured in W/m.K. It is a measure of a substance’s ability to transfer heat through a material by conduction. Note that Fourier’s law applies for all matter, regardless of its state (solid, liquid, or gas), therefore, it is also defined for liquids and gases.
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion of Silver
Linear thermal expansion coefficient of Silver is 18.9 µm/(m·K)
Thermal expansion is generally the tendency of matter to change its dimensions in response to a change in temperature. It is usually expressed as a fractional change in length or volume per unit temperature change.
Silver – Specific Heat, Latent Heat of Fusion, Latent Heat of Vaporization
Specific heat of Silver is 0.235 J/g K.
Heat capacity is an extensive property of matter, meaning it is proportional to the size of the system. Heat capacity C has the unit of energy per degree or energy per kelvin. When expressing the same phenomenon as an intensive property, the heat capacity is divided by the amount of substance, mass, or volume, thus the quantity is independent of the size or extent of the sample.
Latent Heat of Fusion of Silver is 11.3 kJ/mol.
Latent Heat of Vaporization of Silver is 250.58 kJ/mol.
Latent heat is the amount of heat added to or removed from a substance to produce a change in phase. This energy breaks down the intermolecular attractive forces, and also must provide the energy necessary to expand the gas (the pΔV work). When latent heat is added, no temperature change occurs. The enthalpy of vaporization is a function of the pressure at which that transformation takes place.
Silver – Electrical Resistivity – Magnetic Susceptibility
Electrical property refers to the response of a material to an applied electric field. One of the principal characteristics of materials is their ability (or lack of ability) to conduct electrical current. Indeed, materials are classified by this property, that is, they are divided into conductors, semiconductors, and nonconductors.
See also: Electrical Properties
Magnetic property refers to the response of a material to an applied magnetic field. The macroscopic magnetic properties of a material are a consequence of interactions between an external magnetic field and the magnetic dipole moments of the constituent atoms. Different materials react to the application of magnetic field differently.
See also: Magnetic Properties
Electrical Resistivity of Silver
Electrical resistivity of Silver is 15.9 nΩ⋅m.
Electrical conductivity and its converse, electrical resistivity, is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how Silver conducts the flow of electric current. Electrical conductivity or specific conductance is the reciprocal of electrical resistivity.
Magnetic Susceptibility of Silver
Magnetic susceptibility of Silver is −19e-6 cm^3/mol.
In electromagnetism, magnetic susceptibility is the measure of the magnetization of a substance. Magnetic susceptibility is a dimensionless proportionality factor that indicates the degree of magnetization of Silver in response to an applied magnetic field.
Application and prices of other elements