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AgNO3 is the chemical formula for Silver Nitrate, an organic compound with oxidizing properties. Readily dissolved in water, Silver Nitrate solids appear as white crystals which almost have a transparency about them. In liquid form, Silver Nitrate is widely available in a range of molarities which indicate the strength of various solutions.
AgNO3 or Silver Nitrate is also known as ‘Nitric Acid Silver’ or ‘Lunar Caustic’ both of which are ancient names for the substance which was discovered by Albertus Magnus during the Middle Ages. As one of the early Alchemists, Albertus Magnus realised that Nitric Acid could be used to separate Gold and Silver by dissolving the Silver and producing Silver Nitrate. The word ‘lunar’ refers to the ‘moon’ and was the name given to the metal Silver in early times. It is a reference to the material’s silvery appearance like the moon.
AgNO3 has a wide range of uses, most commonly for ‘silvering’ glass to produce mirrors. If you look at the back of a mirror, you will notice that the glass used has a coating – this coating is Silver Nitrate. Silver Nitrate is also widely used in photography and it is sometimes sold as ‘photographic grade Silver Nitrate’.
AgNO3 also has antiseptic properties and before the advent of antibiotics, a very dilute form of Silver Nitrate solution was used as drops in newborn babies’ eyes to help protect them from catching gonorrhoea from their mothers. This crude method of protecting the infants met with some success although it was possible to over-administer and cause blindness or eye defects. Silver Nitrate is also used in some parts of the world today for wound dressings.
Silver Nitrate has another use in coating catheters which again helps to prevent infection. The cleaning and antibacterial properties of Silver Nitrate are used to disinfect large-scale water systems such as those found in hospitals and hotels. Silver Nitrate is also used to help recycle water on space missions.
The marine industry uses Silver Nitrate to clean oysters and crabs after they have been harvested. The marine industry also uses AgNO3 to determine the present of Chlorine in water. For example, seawater contamination can be checked in and around dock yards with the use of Silver Nitrate.
AgNO3 is classified as a Corrosive and Oxidising Substance which is Hazardous to the Environment. Silver Nitrate causes skin to darken on exposed areas and will cause burns after substantial contact. Silver Nitrate causes serious eye damage resulting in severe burns to the eyes or even blindness. AgNO3 is an Irritant so users should take necessary precautions when working with or handling the material to ensure that they do not inhale any vapours or dust as it causes irritation of the mucous membranes, causing coughing.
Ingestion of Silver Nitrate will cause severe burns to the throat, mouth, oesophagus and gastrointestinal tract. Ingestin of large amounts of Silver Nitrate may prove fatal.
For further information on other aspects of Silver Nitrate such as Silver Nitrate labelling, Silver Nitrate packaging and transporting Silver Nitrate, please refer to the relevant pages of this website.
http://www.silver-nitrate.co.uk/agno3 | Saved Friday, November 18th, 2011 - 6:05 AM