Chemical compound

Silver(I) oxide is the chemical compound with the formula Ag2O. It is a fine black or dark brown powder that is used to prepare other silver compounds.


Silver(I) oxide produced by reacting lithium hydroxide with a very dilute silver nitrate solution

Silver oxide can be prepared by combining aqueous solutions of silver nitrate and an alkali hydroxide.[7][8] This reaction does not afford appreciable amounts of silver hydroxide due to the favorable energetics for the following reaction:[9]

(pK = 2.875[10])

With suitably controlled conditions, this reaction can be used to prepare Ag2O powder with properties suitable for several uses including as a fine grained conductive paste filler.[11]

Structure and properties

Ag2O features linear, two-coordinate Ag centers linked by tetrahedral oxides. It is isostructural with Cu2O. It "dissolves" in solvents that degrade it. It is slightly soluble in water due to the formation of the ion Ag(OH)2 and possibly related hydrolysis products.[12] It is soluble in ammonia solution, producing active compound of Tollens' reagent. A slurry of Ag2O is readily attacked by acids:

where HX = HF, HCl, HBr, HI, or CF3COOH. It will also react with solutions of alkali chlorides to precipitate silver chloride, leaving a solution of the corresponding alkali hydroxide.[12][13]

Despite the photosensitivity of many silver compounds, silver oxide is not photosensitive,[14] although it readily decomposes at temperatures above 280 °C.[15]


This oxide is used in silver-oxide batteries. In organic chemistry, silver oxide is used as a mild oxidizing agent. For example, it oxidizes aldehydes to carboxylic acids. Such reactions often work best when the silver oxide is prepared in situ from silver nitrate and alkali hydroxide.


  1. ^ a b c "Silver Oxide MSDS". Salt Lake Metals. Retrieved 2014-06-08.
  2. ^ a b c Lide, David R. (1998). Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (81 ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 4–83. ISBN 0-8493-0594-2.
  3. ^ a b Perry, Dale L. (1995). Handbook of Inorganic Compounds (illustrated ed.). CRC Press. p. 354. ISBN 0849386713.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b Zumdahl, Steven S. (2009). Chemical Principles 6th Ed. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. A23. ISBN 978-0-618-94690-7.
  6. ^ a b c Sigma-Aldrich Co., Silver(I) oxide. Retrieved on 2014-06-07.
  7. ^ O. Glemser and H. Sauer "Silver Oxide" in Handbook of Preparative Inorganic Chemistry, 2nd Ed. Edited by G. Brauer, Academic Press, 1963, NY. Vol. 1. p. 1037.
  8. ^ Janssen, D. E.; Wilson, C. V. (1963). "4-Iodoveratrole". Organic Syntheses.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link); Collective Volume, vol. 4, p. 547
  9. ^ Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.
  10. ^ Biedermann, George; Sillén, Lars Gunnar (1960). "Studies on the Hydrolysis of Metal Ions. Part 30. A Critical Survey of the Solubility Equilibria of Ag2O". Acta Chemica Scandinavica. 13: 717–725. doi:10.3891/acta.chem.scand.14-0717.
  11. ^ US 20050050990A1, Harigae, Kenichi & Shoji, Yoshiyuki, "Fine-grain silver oxide powder", published 2005-03-10 
  12. ^ a b Cotton, F. Albert; Wilkinson, Geoffrey (1966). Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (2nd Ed.). New York:Interscience. p. 1042.
  13. ^ General Chemistry by Linus Pauling, 1970 Dover ed. p703-704
  14. ^ Herley, P. J.; Prout, E. G. (1960-04-01). "The Thermal Decomposition of Silver Oxide". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 82 (7): 1540–1543. doi:10.1021/ja01492a006. ISSN 0002-7863.
  15. ^ Merck Index of Chemicals and Drugs Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, 14th ed. monograph 8521

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