Silver Carbonate: Chemical Formula & Solubility

Instructor: Laura Foist Show bio

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

Silver Carbonate is used in several different reactions. In this lesson, we will learn about the chemical formula of silver carbonate, as well as why it has such a lot solubility.

Silver Carbonate Overview

The beautiful colors in some forms of pottery can be formed by applying silver carbonate prior to heating the pottery. Under the heat of burning, the pottery the silver carbonate turns into beautiful colors.

Pottery can be colored using silver carbonate

Silver carbonate has the formula of Ag2 CO3. CO3 has a -2 charge, and each silver (Ag) atom has a +1 charge. So, the carbon is bound to three oxygen atoms. One carbon-oxygen bond is a double bond, while the other two are single bonds, putting the negative charges on two of the oxygen atoms. The silver atoms connect to the oxygen atoms with an ionic bond.

Silver carbonate has a molecular weight of 275.7 g/mol. It has a melting point of 424 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius), which means it is typically found as a solid. But it decomposes, or the bonds break apart, at 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius), so long before it gets to the melting point. It forms light-yellow crystals.

Silver carbonate has light yellow color

Silver Carbonate Solubility

With the ionic nature of the bonds you would expect silver carbonate to be highly soluble in water. Typical these types of ionic bonds will ionize in water, allowing it to dissolve into the water (attracted to the partial positive and negative charges on water). But the ionic bond between the silver and carbonate is very strong, meaning that it doesn't readily ionize. Due to the lack of ionization, silver carbonate has very little solubility in water. At room temperature the solubility in water is 0.032 g/L.

As the temperature increases, the solubility of silver carbonate greatly increases. Recall that the decomposition temperature of silver carbonate is 120o C, this means that the bonds are all broken down at 120 degrees. Since the ionic bonds are the weakest bonds (weaker than the covalent bonds between carbon and oxygen) in the molecule, these will break down first as the temperature approaches 120.

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silver carbonate formula