Silver, the Noblest Precious Metal for Electroplating

To the knowledge of all, the lines that we see on the rear windscreen of cars, that are used for defrosting and defogging, are made from Silver. Surprisingly, in the United States, an alloy can only be called Silver if it has at least 90% Pure Silver. It is believed that Silver was discovered around 5000 BC. Though, it is valued lesser than gold but in ancient Egypt, Silver was considered more valuable than gold. With melting point of 961°C and boiling point of 2162°C, Silver has the highest electrical conductivity and the highest light reflectance amongst all the metals known to mankind.

Electroplating is a process that uses electric current to reduce dissolved metal cations so that they form a thin coherent metal coating on an electrode. Electroplating is primarily used to change the surface properties of an object (e.g. abrasion and wear resistance, corrosion protection, lubricity, aesthetic qualities, etc.), but it is also used to build up thickness on undersized parts. Engine bearings rely on Silver. The strongest bearing is made from steel and is electroplated with Silver. Silver’s high melting point allows it to withstand the high temperature of engines and Silver’s lubricant-like features help reduce friction between a ball bearing and its housing. Due to Silver’s ability to absorb oxygen, Silver is being researched as a possible substitute for platinum to catalyse oxidation of matter collected in diesel engine filters. The other industrial applications of Silver electroplating include use on electrical parts and components like copper connectors and brass connectors. Used in conjunction with almost every common industry, Silver makes itself practically indispensable.