Silver mirror

A smooth silver layer settles on the sides of the flask forming a mirror

Scientific name: Water solution of glucose reduce silver from Tollens' reagent (ammonia solution of silver oxide)

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Safety

Wear eye protection goggles. Use gloves. You are working with a poisonous gas! If possible, use a hood or carry out the experiment outdoors.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2 AgNO3 + 2 NaOH → Ag2O + 2 NaNO3 + H2O

Ag2O + 4 NH3*H2O → 2 [Ag(NH3)2]OH + 2 H2O

CH2OH(CHOH)4CHO + 2 [Ag(NH3)2]OH → 2 Ag + CH2OH(CHOH)4COONH4 + 3 NH3 + 3 H2O

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Dissolve 1 gram of silver nitrate in a small amount of hot water.
  2. Add a small portion of the solution of sodium hydroxide. Precipitation should occur.
  3. Add some ammonia solution (10%) to completely dissolve the precipitate.
  4. Add 5 grams of glucose to the solution and mix.
  5. Heat the mixture using a water bath.
  6. Observe a smooth layer of metallic silver settle within 15 minutes.

Scientific background

Silver is easily reduced from its compounds. The aldehyde group of glucose provides the reducing properties of glucose. Glucose is a weak reducing agent so silver deposition occurs on the sides of the beaker slowly and evenly. The ammonia complex of silver was chosen due to its low stability and elimination of ammonia from the reaction mixture.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 10 January 2016

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst