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Silver as a “Green Metal” and Other Silver News

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If I mention a “green metal” you might think of copper due to its propensity to turn green as it oxidizes. But as it turns out, silver is a “green metal” as well – green as in environmentally friendly. In fact, silver is playing an increasingly large role in efforts to protect the environment.

As you probably know, silver is an important component in the solar energy industry. Now scientists have discovered that silver works better than copper as a catalyst to transform greenhouse gas. This story was highlighted among other technological innovations using silver in the latest edition of the Silver Institute’s Silver News.

Scientists are looking for ways to convert CO2 into carbon monoxide so it can be used to make syngas (synthetic gas), a feedstock for producing useful chemicals. Syngas is a fuel/gas mixture consisting mostly of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. As it turns out, scientists have discovered that silver serves as a good catalyst to facilitate this process  – even better than copper.

Meanwhile, Swiss and Italian scientists have used 3-D printing to create a microrobot coated with silver capable of identifying pollutants in water and killing bacteria.

The latest edition of Silver News has more details on these environment-friendly uses for silver, along with some fascinating technological developments utilizing the white metal and other interesting news related to silver.

  • When can silver be almost as light as air? When it’s in the form of an aerogel, a web of randomly connected nanometer-sized wires formed into the shape of a tiny marshmallow and containing the same or a smaller number of atoms as air, according to project officials at the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Silver aerogels help keep nuclear stockpiles secure.
  • 2020 Olympic medals will be made from recycled e-waste – including silver waste.
  • A smart pill bottle that sends wireless alerts when it detects tampering, improper use or unsafe storage conditions of the medicine inside (temperature and humidity, for example,) is made possible by an adhesive that consists of silver particles sandwiched between two layers of copper tape.
  • The first recyclable medical lead wire – like those used for heart monitors – has been introduced by Nikomed USA Inc. The wire is made from plastic coated with silver ink.
  • The American Silver Museum has launched an online photographic look at Victorian American silver-plated, mass market hollowware.

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