Safety conditions when mirroring silver

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M. Lopez
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:00 pm

Safety conditions when mirroring silver

Post by M. Lopez » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:57 pm

Good morning

I’m living in Spain and studying (beginner) chemistry. I’m interested in some safety issues related to silver mirroring. I read the chemical safety recommendations described by Angel Gilding when mirroring/pouring silver and the MSDS of some additional companies just to avoid dangerous situations. My questions are.
1. Most companies sell a “concentrate silver solution”, which usually is based on a mixed combination of ammonium and silver nitrate. Is there any possibility of forming fulminating silver (silver nitrite) if this solution is dried or under any other condition? (notice that only diammine silver is considered)
2. When the activator, which usually includes hydroxide of sodium, is added to the concentrate silver solution then “yes” it is possible to create fulminating silver if the solution is dried. Anyone knows if the reason for that is the possibility of forming unstable silver acids when the hydroxide is mixed with the diammine silver? I guess that this is the reason why some companies include the hydroxide of sodium as part of the “reducer” solution, right?. And finally,
3.- The reducer is a mix of chemicals that guarantee that when they are mixed with the concentrate solution all the Ag silver is precipitated and then it is impossible to create any fulminating or fulminated silver, is that right?.

Many thanks.
M. Lopez.

Patrick Mackle
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Monrovia, Ca.
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Re: Safety conditions when mirroring silver

Post by Patrick Mackle » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:57 pm

Hi. I have never studied formal chemistry, and never studied silver chemistry. But in my quest to learn silvering from elderly glass/mirroring men I did hear of some explosive accidents from the formation of fulminate of silver. I understand that the mixture has to dry before it can become unstable and thus explosive. As far as using prepackaged silvering solutions from mirroring chemical suppliers I did one time open a preopened silver component bottle that had a tightly sealed cap. Upon twisting the cap I was surprised by a louder than expected "crack" or "snap" sound. I figured it was caused buy the small amount of dried silver component residue that had dried within the threads of the bottle and cap. It was about as loud as a toy cap gun. I had heard stories of one man blowing the garage door off his garage, and another of a large porcelain pitcher which had turned to fulminate blowing off a worker's hand. That's enough to make a young man wary of the dangers of silver chemistry.

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