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silver chloride

silver chloride, chemical compound, AgCl, a white cubic crystalline solid. It is nearly insoluble in water but is soluble in a water solution of ammonia, potassium cyanide, or sodium thiosulfate ("hypo"). On exposure to light it becomes a deep grayish blue due to its decomposition into metallic silver and atomic chlorine. This light-sensitive behavior is the basis of photographic processes (see photography, still). Since silver bromide, AgBr, and silver iodide, AgI, react similarly, all three of these silver halide salts are used in making photographic films and plates. Both the bromide and iodide are less soluble in water and more sensitive to light than the chloride. The bromide forms light yellow cubic crystals; the iodide forms yellow hexagonal or yellow-orange cubic crystals, depending on the temperature. Besides use in photography, silver chloride is used in silver plating, and silver iodide is used for seeding clouds. The chloride, bromide, and iodide occur naturally as the minerals cerargyrite, bromyrite, and iodyrite, respectively. Silver fluoride, AgF, forms colorless cubic crystals; it is much more soluble in water than the other silver halides.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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