Skip to main content
Library homepage
 
Chemistry LibreTexts

Silver Nitrate

  • Page ID
    35899
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Silver nitrate, AgNO3, is the least expensive silver salt and is relatively stable to light. It easily dissolves in water (2150 g/L at 20 °C). As the nitrate can be easily replaced by other ligands AgNO3 is a versatile starting point for the synthesis of other silver compounds.

    Silver nitrate can be prepared by dissolving silver in with nitric acid:

    3 Ag + 4 HNO3 arrow_right.gif 3 AgNO3 + NO + 2 H2O

    When a sheet of copper is put into a silver nitrate solution, the silver nitrate reacts with copper to form hairlike crystals of metallic silver and a blue solution of copper nitrate:

    2 AgNO3 + Cu arrow_right.gif Cu(NO3)2 + 2 Ag

    AgNO3 reacts with solutions of halide ions to give a precipitate of AgX (X = Cl, Br, I), which are used in photographic films.

    When heated, silver nitrate decomposes into metallic silver, oxygen and nitrogen oxide:

    2 AgNO3 arrow_right.gif 2 Ag + O2 + 2 NO2

    Silver salts have antimicrobial properties and are commonly used to disinfect drinking water. When diluted silver nitrate is braught into contact with skin, the skin becomes brown/black after a short time due to elementary silver which is introduced into the skin according to the following reaction:

    AgNO3 + H (from the skin) arrow_right.gif Ag + HNO3

    Concentrated solutions of AgNO3 will cause burns due to the same reaction.

    Contributors and Attributions


    Silver Nitrate is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?