Uses for Silver
Although best known as a precious metal for commodity and exchange, silver has special metallic properties that make it extremely useful.
The shiny and beautiful metal that it is, silver easily catches the eyes of people, and for this reason it is a popular tool used in art to add a bit of glow to a piece.
In art, silver is associated with symbolic meanings of being industrial, sleek, and modern, and also ornate, sophisticated, and elegant. To integrate true silver into an art piece, silver leaf is often used.
Silver leaf, albeit less common than gold leaf, is used similarly. It is a sheet of very thin silver hammered down to a micron (or less) thick. For reference, a human hair is 70 microns.
Crafters plaster silver leaf gently to handmade notebooks, paintings and frames. Bakers/cake decorators and sweets makers use silver leaf on confectionaries, pastries, and cakes.
Silver is the best conductor of all elements. This is because it has the highest number of free electrons and is thus a great medium for electricity to travel through. For this reason, silver is used in a number of electronic pieces such as in pre-digital photography, in solar panels, and more. Silver membrane switches, which are buttons that are activated with a light touch, are used in TV’s, phones, microwaves, etc. Printed circuit boards, switches and TV screens/monitors use silver too.
However, silver tarnishes, which means often electronics will use other metals like gold or copper alloys.
For the same reasons that silver is a great conductor, silver is also essential to the medical world.
Silver, when dissolved into water, creates silver ions that are lethal to biological growth. For this reason, drugs/medicine kept in silver containers last much longer and keep contaminants away.
Silver is also used as antibiotic coating. Many anti-inflammatory drugs contain silver, as well as wound dressings.