Silver nitrate, an important and the most commonly used laboratory chemical, can be purchased from any nearby chemical manufacture, supplier, or wholesale dealer. The purchase of chemicals directly from the suppliers/manufacturers is a predominant trend in India. Though other countries have witnessed the digital incorporation in the chemical industry, India is still at a nascent stage of digitizing the chemical industry. A majority of chemical buyers/sellers are not aware of digital platforms used for chemical sourcing.
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An overview of silver nitrate
Silver nitrate is an inorganic chemical compound with formula AgNO3, commonly known for its antiseptic activity. It’s a versatile silver salt that acts as a precursor to many other silver compounds. Silver nitrate usually appears as a colorless or white crystalline solid, but turns black on exposure to light or any organic material. It consists of an ionic bond between the silver cation (Ag+) and the nitrate anion (NO3–). The ionic nature of silver nitrate makes it readily dissolvable in water and dissociates into its constituent ions.
The mention of silver nitrate dates back to the 13th century when Albertus Magnus documented his experiment on the ability of nitric acid to separate gold and silver by dissolving the silver. Later in the 1720s, a German chemist Johann Schulze used silver nitrate in printing and photography.
Silver nitrate finds a wide range of applications in various field; but it is toxic and corrosive too. Hence, it should be used carefully with all the precautionary measures followed well.
|Molar mass||169.87 g/mol|
|Melting point||212 °C|
|Boiling point||440 °C|
Uses of silver nitrate
- Important as an antiseptic
- Used in the industrial preparation of other silver salts
- Used as a reagent in analytical chemistry
- Silver halides are incorporated into photographic emulsions
- Silver nitrate is used in the volumetric determination of halides, cyanides, and thiocyanates
- Detection of reducing agents and of the cations of various acids that form insoluble silver salts
- It is potentially used as a cauterizing or sclerosing agent
- Uses as a staining agent in protein visualization in PAGE gels and in scanning electron microscopy
- Used in the electro etching process while jewellery making
The chemistry of photography
Taking photos has become an integral part of our lives today; but do you know how this whole process originated? The discovery of photography can be dated back to 1717, when Johann Heinrich Schulze, discovered that powdered silver nitrate darkened on exposure to light. The experiment involved a piece of paper that was exposed to light, wherein stencils were placed in the path of the light rays in order to produce a negative image upon the silver nitrate. He further documented that the images created were temporary, however, they appeared exactly and distinctly like the original object.
This process of photography underwent various upgrades until modern photography finally originated. James Clerk Maxwell was the first scientist to understand the light as a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This led to the invention of the first color photograph in the year 1861. His modern color films used the same theories as others did, producing three negatives within a single film by making certain layers sensitive to only a single color. The idea was to block the presence of certain wavelengths at a particular level. The processing washes away these negatives and replaces them with colored dyes. Perfectly overlapped, these three colored levels combine to produce a single full-color picture. This is how the process of photography actually originated, which later went on to digital formats being used by all of us today with a smartphone.
Silver nitrate toxicity
Silver nitrate is commonly recognized for its toxic effects. Brief exposure on the skin will not produce any immediate side effects but causes skin staining; and in extreme cases may cause argyria. Argyria is a symptom recognized with the skin turning from its normal color to blue or blue-grey. On constant exposure to high concentrations, side effects such as skin burns are noticeable. Long-term exposure also causes damage to the eyes as silver nitrate is a commonly known eye irritant.
When ingested, silver nitrate causes an extreme burning sensation in the throat and nostrils followed by vomiting. In the event of a heavy dose of silver nitrate causes breathing problems, lung and throat irritation, and stomach pain. Due to its corrosive nature, silver nitrate is considered as a poison that can cause fatal gastroenteritis and gastrointestinal bleed. Hence, it is recommended to use all the precautionary steps while dealing with silver nitrate.
Silver nitrate, so far, is not known for any carcinogenic effect; as thorough investigation on the same is being carried out.
Warnings and precautions for silver nitrate
- Silver nitrate is a corrosive chemical, hence, necessary protective equipment such as mask and gloves should be used while working with it
- In case of silver nitrate contact with skin or eyes, wash the area immediately with flowing, cold water, and take the necessary medical help
- Avoid prolonged contact with skin or other surfaces; this chemical leads to the staining of the skin
- Avoid ingestion, as it may cause fatal gastrointestinal bleeding
- Seek medical help in case of spilling on the skin or accidental ingestion
- Use of silver nitrate during pregnancy and lactation is highly restricted; consult a physician in case you notice any symptoms
Silver nitrate market: Global
The global silver nitrate market depends on which grade of silver nitrate is being manufactured and sold. The common silver nitrate grade manufactured and sold across the globe are silver nitrate ACS grade, silver nitrate USP grade, and silver nitrate technical grade among the others. Of all these grades, silver nitrate ACS grade is estimated to hold a major share of the global silver nitrate market in the near future. The worldwide growing market of silver nitrate is due to its increasing demand in medical, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology industries.
Silver nitrate market is dominant in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East, and Africa. North America is the leading consumer of silver nitrate, the other regions being Europe and the Asia Pacific. The rise in the demand is due to the cauterizing property of silver nitrate, majorly used in medical practices. The Asia Pacific is the major producer of silver nitrate, with China being the leading producer. China manufactures a considerable amount of silver nitrate to consume for domestic needs and export to the developed countries. According to the reports, Asia Pacific is expected to expand its market due to the rise in industrialization in China and India.
Considering the wide range of applications of silver nitrate, analysts forecast the market will see a rise in the supply and demand market and exhibit a CAGR of 4.01% during the period 2019-2024.
With the growing digitization, you can buy silver nitrate online. Companies like Carbanio.com have simplified the chemical sourcing process while helping to keep the chemical industry stay updated with the current trend in the market.
Key players in the global silver nitrate market:
- American Elements
- Ames Goldsmith Corporation
- Barker Industries
- ESPI Metals
- Jiangsu Shangyong New Material Co., Ltd
- Pheonix Industries
- RICCA Chemical Company
- K. Chemical Industries
- Shengzhou Jingui Silver Industry Co., Ltd.
- Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holding Co.,Ltd
- Umicore Precious Metals Refining
These companies alone contribute nearly 60% to the global silver nitrate market.
The future of silver nitrate market
Expert predict an extremely promising future for the silver nitrate market. Considering the various applications, it offers, such as cauterizing, sclerosing, and an anti-microbial agent in medical and pharmaceutical industries, the market will not go out of trend anytime soon. Silver nitrate is an important product in the chemical industry and its demand/supply chain will see only exponential growth in the years to come. In terms of grade, the ACS grade of silver nitrate will dominate the market (it is still on top), when compared to the USP and technical grade.
Silver nitrate is used majorly in end-user products such as photography, jewelry, electronics, glass, and healthcare to name a few. This has raised the demand for silver nitrate in the end-use industry.
With the contribution of silver nitrate to the chemical industry, we can confidently say that the future of the silver nitrate market is bright, and will not fade anytime soon.