We often think of silver’s value in terms of how it is used in jewelry, but the truth is that this precious metal is so much more valuable than you could ever know. Silver is used in a wide variety of ways, especially in the fields of science and energy. Here are just some of the ways that this precious metal is helping to make the world more efficient.
Solar Panels – as the world looks for ways to generate renewable energy, solar panels have become widely popular. The photo voltaic panels that are used to harness the suns energy contain about 20 grams of silver in each panel. This is a relatively new invention, as these panels were created 10 years ago, making the demand for silver skyrocket over the last decade.
Double Pane Windows – to increase the efficiency of double and triple pane glass, silver is used to coat the window to reduce heat gain during hot days.
Silver-Oxide Batteries – many of the smaller batteries found today use silver-oxide over lithium-ion because they are much more efficient, lasting up to 40 percent longer. This is of great benefit in devices such as watches and hearing aids, where replacing the batteries may not always be that easy.
Silver-Zinc Batteries – this is an amazing battery that is one of the most powerful made. In fact, this is the power source used in the Apollo Lunar Rover.
Thermal and Infrared Telescopes – by coating the surface of the mirror of the infrared telescope with silver, this creates greater reflectivity and reduces thermal emission.
Fuel Cells – what makes fuel cells so great is that the thin nano silver foil that is used in these cells creates a much more efficient means to transfer chemical energy into electrical.
Wood Preservative - most of us know that one of the primary problems with would are termites, and silver is proving to be a great biocide to help preserve would and protected from termites and white-rot decay.
Formaldehyde - silver is the primary catalyst used to produce formaldehyde, which is the primary embalming agent.
Explosives - there is a compound called silver fulminate that is a sensitive but not very powerful explosive. It is extremely sensitive which makes it ideal to use and such things as firecrackers and pops, fireworks that need to give a lot of show but not a lot of bang to them.
Alloy Finishes - electronics use silver and a wide variety of ways, and Dow Electronic Materials has recently created a cyanide free silver solution which is great in terms of look and functionality. This solution can be added to both copper or nickel to create alloys that make for greater efficiency and electrical transfer, as well as a sharper look.
Inorganic Chemistry - - for chemists and students, silver nitrate is a great compound to extract halides. It is also used to detect the presence of both bromide and chloride ions.
Weather Modification - for weather modification or cloud seeding, silver iodide has become the primary ingredient used. This is a great product for climate engineering and is integral in helping to form rain or snow.
3D Printing - silver is used in many ways in photography, and that has stretched across into 3D printing as well. The silver nano particles help in creating greater efficiency for electrodes.
Powder Coating – Silver is also important in fighting off bacteria that forms on industrial services and applications. Peridium powder is used to coat the surfaces, preventing bacterial formation.
Semi-Conductors - the production of semiconductors could not occur without silver, which plays an integral role in creating such things as fuses.
Helicopter Bearings - fatigue in the bearings of helicopters is a primary concern due to increased use and higher temperatures, however, silver-plated bearings are helping to create greater resistance while also promoting higher efficiency.
Silver may look fantastic in jewelry or in your cutlery, but it’s applications in science and energy make it an even more precious metal than you could’ve imagined. Sadly, silver is becoming a scarce commodity because of its wide use in applications, leaving some wondering what the future holds.