- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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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