Silver Carbonate

Silver carbonate is a very reactive and unstable chemical compound that you can identify in chemical equations using the silver carbonate formula: Ag2CO3. Fetizon’s reagent often earns mention when it comes to silver carbonate because the reagent is silver carbonate mixed with celite. When you precipitate a silver nitrate solution with an alkaline carbonate, a white mass forms, which, when washed, turns yellow as the soluble salts separate. This product, which you get, is silver carbonate or Ag2CO3. Another important point and defining characteristic of Ag2CO3 is that it is sensitive to light. Under the influence of photochromic light, it changes color. 

Silver Carbonate Structure: What Is The Chemical Geometry Of Ag2CO3

Here you can see the Ag2CO3 structure. The bonds formed in this compound are a result of various factors, the key being: the molecular mass of silver carbonate. The atoms arrange themselves in the manner shown below to attain stability. Yet, silver carbonate is a pretty unstable compound. We will get into those discussions eventually. We will also know more about the properties like the molecular weight of silver carbonate, its reactivity, etc. However, right now, we will look into the silver carbonate structure:

Properties Of Silver Carbonate 

  • The silver carbonate formula is Ag2CO3.

  • The IUPAC name of Ag2CO3 is Disilver Carbonate.

  • The density of the compound is 6.08 g/cm3.

  • The molecular mass of silver carbonate or the molecular weight of silver carbonate is 275.7453 g/mol. 

  • The boiling point of the compound is 553.2-degree centigrade.

  • The melting point of the compound is 218-degree centigrade.

What Are The Physical Properties Of Silver Carbonate?

  • Silver carbonate is odorless.

  • It appears as pale-yellow crystals.

  • The hydrogen bond acceptor value for the compound is 3.

  • When it comes to solubility, it is very sparsely soluble in water. 

What Are The Chemical Properties Of Silver Carbonate?

  • Like most other carbonates, our compound here undergoes decomposition, which means it breaks down into simpler constituent reagents from the silver carbonate formula. In the case of silver carbonate, we obtain silver, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. Since the molecular weight of silver is highest in these three, it forms in most amounts.     

Ag2CO3 -> Ag2O + CO2

2Ag2O -> 4Ag + O2

  • Silver carbonate dissolves in nitric acid to form silver nitrate, carbon dioxide and water.

Ag2CO3 + HNO3 -> AgNO3 + H2O + CO2

Uses Of Silver Carbonate: What Are The Uses Of Ag2CO3

  • Fetizon’s reagent originates from supporting silver carbonate on celite. This reagent is then applicable in the oxidation of primary and secondary alcohols, which yield aldehydes and ketones, respectively. 

  • It acts as a reagent in a very crucial organic synthesis reaction named Koenig’s – Knorr reaction. 

  • It acts as a base in another significant name reaction: Wittig reaction.

  • Owing to its high alkynophilicity and basicity, it is essential in many organic transformations, such as the conversion of alkyl bromides to alcohol.

  • The compound is crucial in the electronics industry, yielding silver, which is very important in chips and microprocessors.

Solved Examples On Silver Carbonate 

  1. When you strongly heat 2.76g of silver carbonate, the residue you obtain weighs:

  1. 2.16g

  2. 2.48g

  3. 2.32g

  4. 2.64g


The reaction involved is as follows:

Ag2CO3 -> 2Ag + CO2 + ½ O2

276g of Ag2CO3 will give 2x108=216g of residue.

Therefore, 2.76g of Ag2CO3 gives 2.16g of silver residue.

Fun Facts

  • Silver carbonate reacts with ammonia to give a very reactive mass known as fulminating silver.

  • Although theoretically, the color of silver carbonate is supposed to be yellow, lab samples typically appear greyish. These samples are rich in silver.

  • Silver carbonate plays a crucial role in microelectronics. It helps in the generation of silver powder, which is used extensively in the chip industry. 

  • Silver carbonate has superior alkynophilicity and basicity, which makes it an ideal catalyst in several organic reactions. 

  • Silver carbonate on celite is neutral, but they form a reagent which is very active in reactions. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Uses of Silver Carbonate?

Ans: Silver carbonate or Ag2CO3 has several uses. It is an essential compound and reagent in several chemical reactions. Some of its crucial applications are in organic chemistry. We have seen it act as a base, a reagent, and a constituent of a reagent. Listing the most essential of uses of the compound, we get the following points: 

  1. Silver carbonate mixed with celite forms Fetizon's reagent, which is an essential reagent in several reactions. 

  2. It finds usage as a base in Wittig reaction, a crucial result in organic chemistry.

  3. It is a primary reagent in Koenig's-Knorr reaction, a significant reaction in organic chemistry.

  4. Silver carbonate converts alkyl bromides to alcohol, a transformation reaction that is often in use. 

2. Is Silver Carbonate Water Soluble?

Ans: Silver carbonate is a very reactive compound containing the transition metal silver. As with most transition metals, this one too does not readily dissolve in water. Silver carbonate's solubility in water is remarkably low, and it is almost considered insoluble. You can only suspend a minimal amount of Ag2CO3 in a liter of water at room temperature. The saturation is so low that even a fully saturated silver carbonate solution contains only 0.032g of Ag2CO3 for every 1L of water. Silver's fundamental properties, such as the molecular mass of silver, the electron distribution, the outer shell configuration, etc. govern its solubility in water; thus, this compound is insoluble.

In this article, we came across a lot of information regarding silver carbonate. We touched on the uses of silver carbonate, its various properties, the molecular mass of silver carbonate, the molecular weight of silver obtained on decomposition, the Ag2CO3 structure, the silver carbonate formula, and some fascinating fun facts. Armed with this information, you can tackle any question on this topic.

In conclusion, the few necessary points we need to remember in the long term is how silver carbonate is useful in the industry, its formation, and some of its properties.