Silver oxide

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 oxide
IUPAC name
Silver(I) oxide
Other names
Silver rust, Argentous oxide, Silver monoxide
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.039.946
EC Number
  • 243-957-1
MeSH silver+oxide
RTECS number
  • VW4900000
Molar mass 231.735 g·mol−1
Appearance Black/ brown cubic crystals
Odor Odorless[1]
Density 7.14 g/cm3
Melting point 300 °C (572 °F; 573 K) decomposes from ≥200 °C[2][3]
0.013 g/L (20 °C)
0.025 g/L (25 °C)[4]
0.053 g/L (80 °C)[2]
Solubility product (Ksp) of AgOH
1.52·10−8 (20 °C)
Solubility Soluble in acid, alkali
Insoluble in ethanol[4]
134.0·10−6 cm3/mol
Pn3m, 224
65.9 J/mol·K[4]
122 J/mol·K[5]
−31 kJ/mol[5]
−11.3 kJ/mol[3]
GHS pictograms [6]
GHS Signal word Danger
H272, H315, H319, H335[6]
P220, P261, P305+351+338[6]
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
2.82 g/kg (rats, oral)[1]
Related compounds
Related compounds
Silver(I,III) oxide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YN ?)
Infobox references


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]

2 AgOH → Ag2O + H2O (pK = 2.875[10])

US patent 20050050990 describes the preparation of Ag2O with properties suitable for use as a fine grained conductive paste filler.

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.[11] It dissolves in ammonia solution to give soluble derivatives. A slurry of Ag2O is readily attacked by acids:

Ag2O + 2 HX → 2 AgX + H2O

where HX = HF, HCl, HBr, or HI, HO2CCF3. It will also react with solutions of alkali chlorides to precipitate silver chloride, leaving a solution of the corresponding alkali hydroxide.[11][12]

Like many silver compounds, silver oxide is photosensitive. It also decomposes at temperatures above 280 °C.[13]


This oxide is used in silver-oxide battery. 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. "Silver Oxide MSDS". Salt Lake Metals. Retrieved 2014-06-08.
  2. Perry, Dale L. (1995). Handbook of Inorganic Compounds (illustrated ed.). CRC Press. p. 354. ISBN 0849386713.
  4. Lide, David R. (1998). Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (81 ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 4–83. ISBN 0-8493-0594-2.
  5. Zumdahl, Steven S. (2009). Chemical Principles 6th Ed. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. A23. ISBN 978-0-618-94690-7.
  6. 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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link); Collective Volume, 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. doi:10.3891/acta.chem.scand.14-0717.
  11. Cotton, F. Albert; Wilkinson, Geoffrey (1966). Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (2nd Ed.). New York:Interscience. p. 1042.
  12. General Chemistry by Linus Pauling, 1970 Dover ed. p703-704
  13. Merck Index of Chemicals and Drugs Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, 14th ed. monograph 8521
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