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The Element Silver

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Facts about the Discovery and History of the Silver Element
Silver was discovered was discovered in Ancient times and used by the ancient South Americans, Asians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. It is mentioned in the Bible. Silver is one of the metals referred to as one of the 'Metals of Antiquity'. The ancient 'Metals of Antiquity' together with their approximate dates of discovery and use are Gold (6000BC), Copper (9000BC), Silver (4000BC), Lead (6400BC), Tin (3000BC), Iron (1500BC) and Mercury (1500BC).

The Properties of the Silver Element
Symbol of Element : Ag
Atomic Number: 47
Atomic Mass: 107.8682 amu
Melting Point: 961.93 C - 1235.08 K
Boiling Point: 2212.0 C - 2485.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons: 47
Number of Neutrons : 61
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 10.5 g/cm3
Color of Silver : lustrous white- silver

What is Silver as on the Periodic Table? Definition of the Silver Element
A lustrous white, ductile, malleable metallic element, occurring both uncombined and in ores such as argentite, having the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of the metals, but its greater cost has prevented it from being widely used for electrical purposes. Silver is one of the scarcest elements. Most silver used today is obtained from its ores, including argentite. The leading producers are Mexico, USA, Russia, Australia and Canada. Silver is prepared in various ways depending upon the nature of its occurrence but especially in connection with the refining of lead and copper. It is highly valued for jewelry, tableware, and other ornamental use and is used in coinage, photography, dental and soldering alloys, electrical contacts, and printed circuits. The Atomic Number of this element is 47 and the Element Symbol is Ag.

What is Silver? Origin / Meaning of the name Silver
The name originates from the Old English Anglo-Saxon word 'seolfor' meaning silver. The Symbol Origin is from the Latin word 'argentum' meaning silver. Argentina was named for this precious metal. Silver was once referred to as one of the 'Noble Metals' which also included  Gold and Platinum. Noble Metals were so called due to their long association with the aristocracy.

What is Silver? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Silver Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Silver is classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3 - 12 of the Periodic Table. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals. Elements classified as Transition Metals are generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat. For additional facts and information refer to Silver Properties.

What is Silver? Properties of Silver
A heavy metal of high luster and is an especially good conductor of heat and electricity. Silver is a heavy, rather soft, white metal, very ductile and malleable and capable of taking a high polish. It surpasses all other metals as a conductor of heat and electricity, but is too costly to find extensive use for such purposes. It melts at a little lower temperature than Copper(961). It alloys readily with other heavy metals, and when it is to be used for coinage a small amount of copper, from 8 to 10%, is nearly always melted with it to give it hardness.

It is not acted upon by water or air, but is quickly tarnished when in contact with sulphur compounds, turning quite black in time.

What is Silver? Occurrence of the Silver Element
Silver is found in small quantities in the uncombined state; usually, however, it occurs in combination with sulphur, either as the sulphide (Ag2S) or as a small constituent of other sulphides, especially those of Lead and copper. It is also found alloyed with Gold. Silver occurs in nature to some extent in the free state, but is usually found as a sulphide. Silver ore is easy to reduce.

Silver ore is found in native form. The other principal sources of silver are copper, copper-nickel, gold, lead and lead-zinc ores.
Found in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia and the USA.

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 610-8%
% in Sun 110-7%
% in Meteorites 0.000014%
% in Earth's Crust 7.910-6%
% in Oceans 110-8%
% in Humans N/A

Medical Uses of Silver - Health and Treatments
Interesting information is contained in the following list of Medical Uses of Silver, Health and Treatments. Silver is used in medicine for its caustic, astringent, and antiseptic effects.

  • Dental / Teeth problems: Toothache: Silver dental alloys are used in soldering and as cones to obliterate the root canal

  • Conjunctivitis in newborn babies: Sore, runny eyes: Silver nitrate, absorbed as an antiseptic

  • Skin infections in patients resulting from extensive burns or industrial exposure: Skin problems: Silver nitrate, absorbed as an antiseptic

A useful reference providing information regarding the medical uses of Silver, associated health issues and disorders and treatments using silver preparations.  

Associated Uses of Silver
Precious metal
Coinage
Jewelry
Tableware
Dental alloys
Medicine and Health Care
Silver fulminate is an explosive
Photography

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