New Developments Using Silver in Technology
Silver is fundamentally a monetary metal and its price tends to track with gold over time. But it is also an important element in technology and industry. Industrial use makes up more than half of the demand for silver.
We’re seeing new uses for silver in technology all the time. The most recent issue of Silver News from the Silver Institute highlights some of these new developments.
Silver in the Movies
Silver played an important role in the filming of the Oppenheimer movie. The ten-minute sequence in which viewers see the first-ever successful atomic bomb detonation was created using some cinematographic trickery. According to cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, the film crew created a “science experiment.”
We built an aquarium and dropped silver particles in it. We had molded metallic balloons which were lit up from the inside. We had things slamming and smashing into one another such as ping-pong balls, or just had objects spinning.”
The silver particles bouncing around the aquarium along with other debris gave the scene the perfect illusion of what the Trinity test explosion looked like from a close-up perspective.
Silver Helps Detect Tumors
DNA molecules can stabilize silver atoms in such a way that they glow under ultraviolet light making them useful in chemical and medical sensing applications,
This property allows medical practitioners to scan more deeply into bodily tissues to detect tumors and other abnormalities without the need for X-rays.
“There is untapped potential to extend fluorescence by DNA-stabilized silver nanoclusters into the near-infrared region,” University of California, Irvine, assistant professor of materials science and engineering Stacy Copp said in a statement. “The reason that’s so interesting is because our biological tissues and fluids are much more transparent to near-infrared light than to visible light.”
Silver in AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage and silver is playing a role in its development.
A recent study has shown that networks of silver nanowires appear to learn and recall information in some ways similar to how the human brain executes these processes.
University of Sydney researcher Alon Loeffler, PhD, said, “Our research explores non-biological systems that are more like human brains.”
We found self-organizing networks of tiny silver wires appear to learn and remember in much the same way as the thinking hardware in our heads. Nanowires self-assemble to form a network structure similar to a biological neural network. Like neurons, which have an insulating membrane, each metal nanowire is coated with a thin insulating layer.”]
In conclusion, Loeffler wrote, “Human intelligence is still likely a long way from being replicated. Nonetheless, our research on [silver] nanowire networks shows it is possible to implement features essential for intelligence – such as learning and memory – in non-biological, physical hardware.”
Silver Sox for Horses
Silver-embedded bandages and clothing have become common. The antibacterial properties of silver help with both infection and odor prevention.
Now horses are enjoying the benefits of the metal’s ability to kill dangerous microbes – especially bacteria and fungi – and promote wound healing.
Sox For Horses has developed silver-embedded socks for equine use.
Equines can suffer from a variety of lesions that affect their lower legs: dermatitis, scratches, mud fever, dew poisoning, greasy heel, summer sores, and wounds. Silver Whinnys provide the critical qualities in bandaging/leg protection that allow non-responding cutaneous (affecting the skin) lesions to finally heal.”
Cloud seeding – a silver-based technology used worldwide for more than 50 years to increase rainfall – is making a comeback.
Some drought areas in Texas are boosting rainfall by about fifteen percent annually, an additional two inches, due to cloud seeding, according to the West Texas Weather Modification Association, a rain enhancement group based in the City of San Angelo.
Other US states are currently seeding or considering official programs, including Arizona, Idaho, California, and Colorado, although local jurisdictions often cloud seed independently.
Here’s how it works.
Rods or particles made of silver iodide are floated into the air or dropped from planes into clouds. The silver iodide acts as a nucleus to which moisture can adhere and when the particles get heavy enough they fall as raindrops, or snow if the temperatures are cold enough.