Make Glass Mirrors with Silver Nitrate

Uploaded by NurdRage on 04.03.2009

Greetings fellow nerds.
In this video we'll be making silver mirrors
using the silver nitrate made in a previous video.
First, you'll need one gram of silver nitrate
and one gram of sodium hydroxide.
Add enough water to both to completely dissolve them.
Then mix them together in a larger container.
The spinning black bead you see here is a magnet that helps us stir our chemicals.
As you mix them both together,
they'll instantly form a dense precipitate of silver oxide.
Now with lots of stirring, add household ammonia to the mixture
until you completely redissolve the silver oxide.
When you have a clear solution,
add in four grams of sugar and stir until it completely dissolves.
Now the solution is ready to create silver a mirror,
but it will proceed very slowly while it's still cold.
This gives us time to prepare our mirror surface.
In this case, we'll be using a microscope slide.
Since we only want to put silver on one side
we've covered the other side with tape to protect it.
Now we place it into the silvering solution and turn on the heat.
The solution needs to be hot but do not boil it.
Since the heating will cause the solution to release ammonia,
you need do this experiment outside or in a very well-ventilated area.
An additional safety point is that you must perform the entire preparation
and silvering in less than a couple of hours or else the solution will
generate a highly poisonous chemical called silver azide.
In addition, the spent solution must be flushed with copious amounts of water.
Ok, as you can see,
the silver is now depositing onto any surface it can find,
including the walls of the container.
Let me get the slide out to remove the tape and clean off the waste.
And there we have a small silver mirror.
The mirror isn't perfect because we didn't submerge the slide completely,
but you can see the idea.
Ok let me dump the solution and show you the container.
Obviously when you do your reaction you should use a much cleaner container than ours.
As you can see, the layer is highly reflective.
Thanks for watching another NurdRage science video.
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