Silver nitrate can be reduced to elemental silver, in the presence of a reducing agent, such as ascorbic acid.
Silver nitrate decomposes when heated at 440 °C.
- 2 AgNO3 → 2 Ag + O2 + 2 NO2(g)
Silver nitrate is an odorless white salt. Unlike silver perchlorate, it is not hygroscopic. It is soluble in water, acetone, ether.
Silver nitrate can be purchased from pharmacies, usually as a solution or as sticks, known as "caustic pencils". It can also be purchased in solid form, from chemical suppliers.
Silver nitrate can be prepared by reacting nitric acid with silver metal. Heating the acid accelerates the reaction.
Silver nitrate can stain the skin as well as most objects and is toxic if swallowed. Gloves should be worn when handling the compound.
Silver nitrate should be kept in closed bottles, in dark places, such as a cabinet, as it is sensitive to light. Avoid storing it close to volatile reducing agents.
Silver nitrate should be reduced to elemental silver, which can be recycled.