Name Silver (I) nitrate
Chemical formula AgNO3
Appearance White solid


Formula weight 169.9 amu
Melting point 485 K (212 °C)
Boiling point decomposes at 713 K (440 °C)
Density 4.4 ×103 kg/m3
Crystal structure ?
Solubility 245 g in 100g water



Ingestion Very toxic, may cause serious injury or death.
Inhalation Severe irritant, long-term effects also known.
Skin Staining, higher concentrations are corrosive and dangerous.
Eyes Extremely dangerous, causes blindness. Seek medical attention immediately.
More info Hazardous Chemical Database
SI units were used where possible. Unless otherwise stated, standard conditions were used.

Disclaimer and references

Silver nitrate is a chemical compound with chemical formula AgNO3. This nitrate of silver is a light-sensitive ingredient in photographic film. A poisonous, corrosive compound, silver nitrate crystals can be produced by dissolving silver in nitric acid and evaporating the solution.

When making photographic film, fine silver nitrate particles are bonded to strips of tri-acetate or polyester. Photons from sunlight, X-rays or other sources, initiate a purported chemical chain reaction: when photons strike silver nitrate molecules, they free electrons from the silver ions. These free electrons roam through the crystal and settle in structural imperfections called sensitivity specks. These specks apparently attract positive silver ions, which are then neutralized to form groups of stable silver atoms, creating a latent image that is chemically developed to reveal a photographic image.

Silver nitrate has been used as an antiseptic, dropped into new born babies' eyes at birth. This is to prevent contraction of gonorrhoea or chlamydia from their mother. A very weak solution is used for this, (about 1%) and there are very few side effects.

See also

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