What Are the Physical Properties of Silver?

High ductility, malleability, conductivity and a lustrous white appearance are some of the physical properties of silver. Pure silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all the metals. Because its natural occurrence is relatively rare, silver is considered a precious metal.

Malleability is the ability of a material to be hammered or rolled. High malleability enables the metalworking of silver into complex shapes at relatively low temperatures. Ultra thin foils of silver for industrial and aerospace applications are also possible because of its malleability. Ductility is the extent to which a material can be stressed and drawn into thin wires making it useful for electrical applications.

Silver is commonly used in electrical contacts for radio-frequency applications because of its superior electrical conductivity. This high electrical conductivity also makes silver a good material for electromagnets, where the magnetic flux density generated by the magnet is directly proportional to the current intensity that can pass through.

The lustrous nature of silver metal enables it to be polished to a very high degree of smoothness. Untarnished, silver is the most reflective of all metals, making it an ideal material for mirrors in the visible light range provided that its surface can be insulated from tarnish-causing atmospheric oxygen.