View Full Version : messing about with silver

08-05-2014, 10:49 PM
Again I have been messing with things I know nothing about, letting the mood take me.

To begin with I took a silver chain split it in two and used each half as electrodes.

I placed these into distilled water and turned on a 15V current; nothing happened as expected.

I put a pinch of common salt into the water and immediately one of the electrodes started to produce a white precipitate.


Below the solution after an hour...


and after 24 hours...


I poured off the solution into another glass to get the precipitate...


The solution looked a pale pink at this time and had a high PH, 11.6...


Out of curiosity I mixed a solution of ammonium nitrate, which I had out in the open for about two years, I filtered this and added it to the precipitate.

The ammonium nitrate solution was clear with a tinge of yellow, but after adding it to the precipitate it went milky...


I left this overnight and it turned blue, PH 6, I decanted this into another glass...


The main solution had now turned from the pinky white to black, I assumed this was due to silver's photo sensitive properties...


After another day this black had precipitated out of solution; PH had now gone from 11.6 to 9.5...

http://thealchemyforum.com/Images/Silver/pink to black.png


At the start of the electrolysis the electrode was precipitating white but after a while it started to precipitate black...
not sure what was happening here. The chain on the precipitating electrode was completely eaten in the process.

I will do some more work with this and post results later.

If anyone knows what's happening please post.

Below is a short video of the process to the blue stage...

The Process (http://thealchemyforum.com/clips/silver.wmv)



08-05-2014, 11:17 PM
Interesting stuff Ghislain, especially the blue that came out of it. Quite pretty :cool:

Are you going to distil off the liquid to see what the blue is made out of?

08-05-2014, 11:59 PM
I was thinking of letting it evaporate naturally to see if any crystals form...

I still have three different precipitates I want to play with...I'll let you know what happens.


Dendritic Xylem
08-06-2014, 06:19 AM
I think this is what happened. When you first set up the silver electrolytic cell with distilled water it won't allow much current, but if you let it sit overnight you will see a change in the ppm. This is how people make colloidal silver.

When you add the NaCl salt it speeds up the reaction and makes silver chloride which appears as the white powder. When you added the ammonium nitrate solution and it turned blue, that was the silver chloride turning into silver nitrate.

When the electrolysis started producing black precipitate instead of white, probably silver oxide production after the chloride was used up. You will see this black precipitate if you electrolyze the distilled water without using a salt electrolyte. It just takes much longer.

08-06-2014, 10:29 AM
Thanks DX...all makes sense...every day's a school day :)

What about the light solution turning black...and what might the precipitate be?


08-06-2014, 11:11 AM
Just looked on the Wiki entry for Silver Chloride and it says:

AgCl quickly darkens on exposure to light by disintegrating into elemental chlorine and metallic silver.

So I guess that is what the pinky-white solution turned into.


08-06-2014, 06:39 PM
Hi Ghislain

As coincidence has it I was only today just reading the book below

and about half way through he is doing experiments with silver, using sea water and calcium such as sea shells
He also got blue and said it was due to the copper which is mixed with silver to make it more durable

It might be worth doing next experiment during full moon, and maybe use seawater instead of ordinary water. It would be great to sea the coral crystal effect
And as you said the black seems to be the silver salts used up as the light got them so maybe try avoid direct light

Dendritic Xylem
08-07-2014, 05:48 AM
I think you are correct about the photoactive reduction into metallic silver powder.
Also, I think that some sodium hydroxide may have been created while electrolyzing the salt solution.