Silver’s use in technology has greatly expanded its role in the global silver market in recent years. A number of factors have played a crucial factor in this growth, not the least of which is silver’s unique technical proficiency, which makes it suitable for a wide range of applications while also limiting the ability of industrial users to shift in favor less-costly alternatives. Silver is one of the best electrical and thermal conductors, which makes it ideal for a variety of electrical end uses, including switches, multi-layer ceramic capacitors, conductive adhesives, contacts and in silvered film in electrically heated automobile windshields. Silver is also used as a coating material for optical data-storage media, including DVDs. Silver is employed as a catalyst and used in brazing and soldering as well. It is also incorporated into health and medicinal applications given its natural antibacterial qualities.
From its role as a conductor in nearly all of our appliances to its life-saving qualities in operating rooms around the world, the uses of silver in technology are many and far-reaching. Did you know that NASA’s Magellan spacecraft relied on silver-coated quartz tiles to protect it from solar radiation during a four-year scientific mission? Or that the world’s strongest alloy, made of silver and aluminum, is an essential component of the Air Force C17 transport and the Army’s Apache helicopter? From flight to space travel, silver is one substance that helps us continue to raise the bar on our capabilities.
You’ll find silver in many of the electronic devices we use today, including cell phones, plasma- display panel televisions, personal computers and laptops. Silver is also incorporated into button batteries, water-purification systems, automobiles, and it is a component of the growing photo-voltaic industry, to name just a few of its applications.
High temperature semiconductors, which will revolutionize the transmission and storage of electrical power and the efficiency of motors and most other electrical equipment, rely upon silver to operate. As do many chemical processes including the production of polyester fabrics, hydraulics, engine antifreeze and flexible plastics. When we take a broad look at the latest technological advances and the most important ones of the last century, we see the role of silver in nearly every major field of advancement.