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Learn More About Silver

At Electrum, we specialize in silver plating for the electrical and electronics industries, among others. While gold and its uses are widely known, silver is not as well known. That is why we have decided to educate you about silver in today's article.

Silver is a Useful and Versatile Metal

Silver’s Properties

Silver (chemical symbol 47Ag) is the element which has the highest electrical conductivity and the metal which has the best thermal conductivity. Although it has the best electrical conductivity of all metals, copper is preferred for the electrical wiring because the cost of silver is much higher than copper’s. Silver is also a very ductile metal (the ability of a material to deform under tensile stress) and malleable (the ability of a material to deform under a compressive stress).

From Where Does Silver is Being Extracted?

Silver comes mainly from silver mines, but also from lead, zinc and copper mines, which silver is a byproduct. It is also found in gold and aluminum mines, but in much smaller quantity. Finally, recycling is also a source of silver.

How is Silver Used?

Silver is used for many applications in diverse industries. Here are a few:

  • Dentistry

    Powdered silver (and other metals such as gold and tin) is used to create an alloy with mercury in the production of an amalgam. This amalgam is used for dental fillings.
  • Electronics

    The electronics industry is a major user of silver. It is used in the design of high-quality RF connectors, printed circuit boards, RFID antennas, and computer keyboards, among others.
  • Investment

    Silver, like gold, can be used as an investment product. At the time of this writing, an ounce of silver was worth $ 21.46 in Canadian dollars.
  • Medicine

    Silver is used as an antibiotic coating on certain medical devices.
  • Music

    Silver is used in the manufacturing of high-end instruments wind instruments like flutes, for example.
  • Clothing

    Sometimes silver is added to certain apparel, such as socks, to reduce odors and the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. Indeed, silver has properties that prevent bacteria growth.

This concludes this article on silver. We hope that you learned a thing or two about this useful and versatile metal.

What is Electroplating?

Electroplating is a process used for electronics, telecommunications, hydroelectric, aerospace and military applications. A variety of materials can be used with this process such as gold, silver and nickel. But what is electroplating exactly?

Electroplating 101

What is Electroplating?

By definition, electroplating is a process that utilizes electrical current to reduce dissolved metal cations in order that they form a coherent metal coating on an electrode. The term electroplating is also used for the electrical oxidation of anions onto a solid substrate. A good example of this electrical oxidation is the formation of silver chloride on silver wire to create silver/silver-chloride electrodes. Finally, the electroplating process is mainly used to modify the surface properties of objects by increasing their abrasion and wear resistance, corrosion protection, lubricity or aesthetic qualites, among others.

This process is done in 5 steps :

1. Strike of Flash

2. Pulse Electroplating or Pulse Electrodeposition (PED)

3. Brush Electroplating

4. Electroless Deposition

5. Cleanliness

What are the Effects of Electroplating?

As mentioned earlier, >electroplating is mostly used to change the surface properties of objects but it is able to change their chemical, physical and mechanical properties. Examples of physical changes is the modification of an object’s tensile strength or surface hardness.

Which Industries use Electroplating?

A lot of industries use the benefits of the electroplating process. Indeed, like I wrote in the introduction, the electronics, telecommunications, hydroelectric, aerospace and military industries all use it in their activities. The auto and home furniture and appliance industries also use it by plating chromium on many of their parts to increase their life.

To conclude, electroplating is a very useful and widely used process. Everyone uses or has products that were modified by using the electroplating process in their home. Can you name some?

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