What is Silver? | Types, Definition, Structure, Function & Facts

What is Silver?

Silver is the 2nd element in the 11th column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition 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, shiny metal. It is malleable (meaning it can be drawn 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 all metals. It is also very reflective.

Silver is not very reactive. It will not react with air or water. However, it will tarnish when exposed to sulfur compounds.

Highlights of 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

Where is Silver found on Earth?

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

How is Silver used today?

Ribbons have been used since ancient times to make jewelry and silverware. Today, standard silver which is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper is known as sterling silver. Another ancient use of silver was as coins.

Silver has been used as currency for thousands of years. Today, very few coins are still made of silver due to the high cost.

Silver is used in the electronics industry due to its excellent electrical conductivity. It is mainly used in high-end applications where cheaper metallic copper can’t do the job. It is also used in long-life batteries.

Other uses of silver include mirrors, dental fillings, musical instruments, and nuclear reactors.

How was Silver discovered?

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

Where did Silver get its name?

It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “seolfor” for element. The symbol Ag comes from the Latin word “argentum” which means silver.


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

Interesting Facts about Silver

Its two stable isotopes have the same abundance, which is rare for an element.

The official currency of the United Kingdom is called the British pound, which was originally the equivalent of one silver pound.

Before the recent development of digital cameras, about 30% of silver production was used for photography in silver nitrate compounds.

Silver iodide includes silver (AgI) used in cloud seeding to produce rain.

Silver nanoparticles are sometimes added to clothing because they can help prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria.

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