Silver nitrate

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Colorless, corrosive crystals that darken on exposure to light. Silver nitrate is used primarily in manufacturing photographic emulsions and silver mirrors. It is also used in silver plating, dyeing hair, etching Ivory, and as a colorant for Porcelain and Glass.

Synonyms and Related Terms

lapis infernis; lunar caustic; sølvnitrat (Dan.); Silbernitrat (Deut.); nitrato de plata (Esp.); nitrato d'argento (It.); zilvernitraat (Ned.); Azotan(V) srebra(I)(Pol.); sølvnitrat (Nor.)


  • Strong oxidizing agent.
  • Toxic by ingestion and inhalation.
  • Corrosive to skin and mucous membranes.
  • Fisher Scientific: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in water, glycerol, hot ethanol. Slightly soluble in ether.
  • Tabular, rhombic shaped crystals.
Composition AgNO3
CAS 7761-88-8
Melting Point 212 C
Density 4.328 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 169.9
Refractive Index 1.729, 1.744, 1.788
Boiling Point 444 C (dec)

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 725
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 8661
  • Website: - photographic chemicals
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: ref. index=1.729, 1.744, 1.788