Silver: Properties & Uses
As we mentioned in our previous post, silver has kept its popularity over the centuries all thanks to its unique properties. Here are the main ones:
Silver is the best conductor of electricity and heat among all metals. That’s why it is used in the making of high quality batteries and electronics, often as an alternative to lithium batteries.
It is a powerful reflector of light. For the this reason it has been used in the making of mirrors since ancient times. As the world is turning to renewable energy sources, in the last years its demand has been constantly growing due to the worlds appetite for solar panels.
Connected to the previous quality, but employed differently, is the high sensitivity of this metal to light. Photography wouldn’t have been possible without silver. Silver halides react to light turning black, making it possible to capture it into black-and-white images.
Silver has antimicrobial properties. Silver ions absorb oxygen which kills bacteria. This quality has been known for centuries and lead to many different uses. In medicine, as an antibiotic, it helps wounds to heal and prevent infections.
Its hygienic qualities have a number of domestic applications. Nowadays, silver is used in water purification systems or applied to food packages to avoid bacteria proliferation. And for the same reason it has been used for centuries to create precious tableware and dining sets.
Its malleability makes it easy to shape and mold making it a perfect material to create jewellery and artworks, often as a less expensive alternative to gold. Nevertheless, pure silver would be too soft for this kind of employment which is why tableware and jewellery are most likely made of sterling silver, containing 92,5 percent silver and 7,5 percent of different metals.
Although silver turns dark when exposed to air requiring ocasional polishing, it resists to corrosion, melts only at very high temperatures and is extremely durable. For this reasons it has been used for centuries as currency and it represents an ideal form of investment and a perfect way to ensure a long-term family legacy.
Thanks to its many applications, in art, in our everyday life and ultimately in technology, the demand for silver will maintain its role as a precious metal and increase its value over time.