The Many Use Cases for Silver Part I: Electronics, Energy, Soldering, Chemicals, Photography

JP Buntinx
July 31, 2020

Unlike gold and most other precious metals, silver has plenty of industrial use cases. More importantly, these use cases are quite varied. It is thanks tot his aspect that demand for silver hasn’t diminished all that much due to COVID-19

Silver in Electronics

The primary use case for silver can be found in the firm of electronics. The metal has thermal and electrical conductivity benefits not found in most other metals. Nearly every electrical switch on the planet has a small quantity of silver to join and separate contacts accordingly.

Most of the electronics containing silver quantities are found in cars. Automobiles have numerous contacts controlling electronic features. The same goes for nearly all consumer appliances one can think of today. This is the primary use for silver in everyday life, and one that continues to fuel demand for this metal accordingly. 

Silver in the Energy Sector

Renewable forms of energy introduce another use case for silver. More specifically, solar panels require silver paste contacts to capture and carry electrical current. Combined with the reflective nature of silver, it is possible to reflect solar energy into collectors to generate electricity. 

For those familiar with nuclear energy, the control rods in power plants often contain silver. This allows for the capture of neutrons and slowing the fission rate in nuclear reactors. Anyone who has seen the Chernobyl series will know how important these processes are. 

Soldering Benefits From Silver

Most people may not be aware of the use of silver in soldering. Creating joints between metal pieces is achieved by using this metal. It is worth mentioning that this process doesn’t require the purest of silver, allowing for the use of metal otherwise discarded as scrap. 

Chemicals and Silver

It is interesting to note how one can use silver to create not one, but two chemicals. Both formaldehyde and ethylene oxide are created with this precious metal. In turn, they are used for flexible plastics, antifreeze, solid plastics, protecting coating, disinfectant, and so forth. 

Photographers and Silver

In the world of photography, there will always be a demand for silver. Although digital media has taken over from traditional film photography, there is still a market for the latter. Silver halide crystals found in camera film will affect the light sensitivity of the photograph. A very similar process is also used in X-Rays, among other things. 

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