Silver Nitrate

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Information @ a Glance

  • Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula AgNO3. This compound is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography.
  • It was once called lunar caustic because silver was called luna by the ancient alchemists, because they believed that silver was associated with the moon.
  • Silver nitrate can be prepared by reacting silver, such as a silver bullion or silver foil, with nitric acid.It is non-hygroscopic, in contrast to silver fluoroborate and silver perchlorate. It is relatively stable to light. Finally, it dissolves in numerous solvents, including water.
  • Silver nitrate is used in many ways in organic synthesis, e.g. for deprotection and oxidations. Ag+ binds alkenes reversibly, and silver nitrate has been used to separate mixtures of alkenes by selective absorption. The resulting adduct can be decomposed with ammonia to release the free alkene.
  • Fused silver nitrate, shaped into sticks, was traditionally called "lunar caustic". It is used as a cauterizing agent, for example to remove granulation tissue around a stoma.
  • The Canadian physician C. A. Douglas Ringrose researched the use of silver nitrate for sterilization procedures on women. A specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, Ringrose believed that the corrosive properties of silver nitrate could be used to block and corrode the fallopian tubes, in a process that he called "office tubal sterilization".
  • The technique was ineffective; in fact at least two women underwent abortions. Ringrose was sued for malpractice, although these suits were unsuccessful.
  • Silver nitrate is not harmful to mammals, but it is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Environmental risks are not expected if the registered product is used and disposed of according to label instructions.
  • Large amounts of metallic silver pigment were found in 10 cervical biopsy specimens taken for the histological grading of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
  • Silver nitrate is actually amongst the more popular products of silver. The cheapest and popular method to obtain the salt of silver is by the administered solution between nitric acid and silver.

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