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Elements for Kids

Silver

The element silver

  • Symbol: Ag
  • Atomic Number: 47
  • Atomic Weight: 107.8682
  • Classification: Transition Metal
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 10.49 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 961°C, 1763°F
  • Boiling Point: 2162°C, 3924°F
  • Discovered by: Known about since ancient times
Silver is the second element in the eleventh column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transitional metal. Silver atoms have 47 electrons and 47 protons with 60 neutrons in the most abundant isotope.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions silver is a soft metal that has a shiny metallic finish. It is very ductile (meaning it can be pulled into a wire) and malleable (meaning it can be hammered into a flat sheet).

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity of all the elements as well as the highest thermal conductivity of the metals. It is also very reflective.

Silver is not very reactive. It will not react with air or water. It will tarnish, however, when coming into contact with sulfur compounds.

Where is it found on Earth?

Silver is a relatively rare element found in the Earth's crust. It is found both in its free form and in minerals such as argentite. It is often mined with other metal ores including copper, lead, zinc, and gold. Most of the silver mined in the United States is from the state of Nevada. The major worldwide producers of silver are Peru, Mexico, and China.

How is silver used today?

Sliver has been used since ancient times to make jewelry and silverware. Today, standard silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper called sterling silver.

Another ancient use of silver was to make coins. Silver has been used as money for thousands of years. Today, few coins are still made from silver because of its high cost.

Silver is used in the electronics industry because of its excellent electrical conductivity. It is mostly used in high end applications where the cheaper metal copper can't do the job. It is also used in long life batteries.

Other applications for silver include mirrors, dental fillings, musical instruments, and nuclear reactors.

How was it discovered?

Silver was one of the first metals discovered by ancient peoples. Silver artifacts have been found in many ancient civilizations such as the Sumer from 3000 BC.

Where did silver get its name?

It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "seolfor" for the element. The symbol Ag comes from the Latin word "argentum" for silver.

Isotopes

There are two naturally occurring stable isotopes of silver: silver-107 and silver-109.

Interesting Facts about Silver

More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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