Introduction: Grow Silver Crystals by Electrochemistry

In this video we grow crystals of pure silver metal by electochemistry.

The procedure is fairly simple. Just apply an electric current between a silver anode and an aluminum or silver metal cathode while they are immersed in silver nitrate solution. The silver ions from the anode will deposit on the cathode.

The crystals are microscopic so to see them the solution is placed under a microscope. A glass slide may be placed over the solution to keep the surface flat so you can see it better.

The crystals grow in different shapes depending on concentration and current applied.


SHOE0007 (author)2017-03-27

Silver copper pipe results. Silver Oxide. Ag2O.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-03-27

SIlver(II) oxide plating with copper electrodes, copper pipes, zinc sulfate-lye-silver nitrate solution.

Popopopper (author)2012-05-21

wait, what salt one?

thelastonekills (author)2010-12-23

cool vid,
what are the chances of growing one or two large crystals by using a very low volatge over a long time (a week or something).

also i have two random questions,

i was try ing some different kinds of electrolsis,
both had salt watere soutions
one has a copper andode and copper cathode
the other had a iorn anode and cathode

with the copper i got yellow/brown particals that setled to to the bottom and a thin light blue layer formed

with the the iron a very very dark particals (very small)

my question is what did the electrolsis produse in both cases, and any chance of an equation for both of them??

Dr.Bill (author)thelastonekills2010-12-27

Hydrogen and Oxygen gas the rest is waste.

thelastonekills (author)Dr.Bill2010-12-27

not trying to be rude, but i know that much,
i want to know the by products,

you never know if they might be "useful"

and they kind of make up 10% - 20 % of what left over

think the copper is a mxture of copper oxide (I) and some thing

the iorn one is a mixture of iorn oxide and something (some changed collour when it dried)

i was just wondering what the stuff is ?

Nyxius (author)thelastonekills2012-04-26

Your right, I too have done this multiple times, The copper is copper oxide, with is obtained by having an over-potential such that the copper hydroxide is reduced to copper oxide. You can prevent the formation of these by using a buffer. the iron is most likely rust that has been oxidized a second time to make Iron (3/4) oxide. Iron 3 oxide is usually green though. try using a different acid to form your salts and you also need to buffer the solution with some kind of cation. I used acetic acid for awhile, but have found a mixture of boric acid and oxylic acid to be more effective. I also mix in a little ethylene-glycol to help balance the reaction as it progresses.

jappi-1 (author)thelastonekills2011-04-04

the light blue layer may have been zinc buildup accelerated by the electrolysis and copper. just a guess though.

123cryderman (author)2012-02-11

I have the same problem. The salt one just isn't the same. Did you figure it out?

kjgdfak (author)2011-03-30

could you grow enough to sell it? please reply

jbussé (author)kjgdfak2011-08-28

yes but you will only lose money with it.
you buy the silver wire (a finished product) and resell raw silver crystals (an unfinished product) and you'll also need to pay for the used electricity

doomsdayltd (author)jbussé2011-12-30

unless you use a catalyst with familiar properties of the 4 elements of which ever is closer, or alchemy so to speak hmm

TheeDoctor (author)2011-07-07

I'd love to do this but I was wondering if it grows enough to see without a microscope, like the size of a pebble or a large grain of Epsom salt, please answer and btw so cool!

fuzvulf (author)2011-05-14

love it, followed you for a long while elsewhere good to find out you are here.

silver daddyo (author)2011-03-28

As we say in Ireland "Be gob, yer some man for one man" It was a right bit of craic watching that video.WELL DONE !!.
When I subscribed to this site I signed up for two years and the admin. chap sent a geansai-load of "kudos" to give to people whose stuff impressed me.As soon as I find out how to distribute them you are first in line.
Silver Daddyo

_-hcm-_ (author)2011-02-15

Well, i can see it isn't real-time but how long?

_-hcm-_ (author)2011-02-15

BTW how long does this take? Is the video real-time?

_-hcm-_ (author)2011-02-15

Incredible work. Congrats

kittenlover666 (author)2011-01-16

So Beautiful...

Dale_D (author)2011-01-05

Just wondering... could this be used to recover silver from film processing chemicals?

toddsleeman (author)2010-12-27

I seen some where that some crystals can grow from sound. I wanted to try that you know where i can go to learn how? Thanks

moc123 (author)2010-12-19

if you have silver nitrate you can simply suspend a coil of copper wire in it and silver crystals will grow on it. we did it in chem class. i think we used a gram of silver nitrate in like 200ml of water or something. let the copper sit in it over night

Dr.Bill (author)moc1232010-12-27

We used silver cyanide crystals in a tank to dip castings. I don't know how long they left the castings in for but I do know they were able to plate the thickness of a molicule.

Dr.Bill (author)2010-12-27

Years ago I worked in a foundry that made Trophies. They hung the parts in solution on wire hooks to plate the perts. On the end of the 3/16" hooks grew these formations that looked like 3D frost that had to be twisted off and re-cycled.
They looked so cool that I thought they might be usable as jewlery of some kind.
I never did anything with this idea as I was only a temporary employee at the time and promptly forgot about it.

So there is an idea for something.

Kaffe (author)2010-12-26

You should try Gold Nitrate.

h0meIandsecurity (author)2010-12-22

(Since you have more equipments then me?)
"Commit yourself to making lots of mistakes. – Mistakes teach you important lessons. The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake. So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win. Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever."

sniperHunted (author)2010-12-20

Cool! Are these silver crystals usable in electroplating?

Blackice504 (author)2010-12-20

That was stunning great work as always.

kasssa (author)2010-12-19

Great photography! What power magnification was used in the video? Are the crystals so fragile that they break when the wire they're growing on is moved or touched?

NurdRage (author)kasssa2010-12-19

the actual diameter of the wire is around 0.5mm, so that should give you a sense of the magnification.

mikeasaurus (author)2010-12-19

Wow, looks great!
Nice job on capturing the macro video

NurdRage (author)mikeasaurus2010-12-19


About This Instructable




Bio: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already ... More »
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