Silver is a soft, malleable metal with a characteristic sheen. It has the highest thermal and electrical conductivities of all metals. It is generally found pure, or in sulphide or arsenide ores. The pure metal is stable to water and oxygen, however when it comes in touch with sulphur in the air it creates the characteristic black layer of silver sulphide. It is soluble in sulphuric and nitric acids. Some silver salts are sensitive to light and are key in the silver gelatine process in photography. Other applications and industries in which silver is used include the manufacture of jewellery (both as the pure metal and combined into different alloys), the electrical industry and for the silvering of glass.
Throughout history, silver has also been used in coin making, adornments, mirrors and photo-optics, musical instruments, dentistry and medicine. Because of its high conductivity and resistance to heat, silver is often used for contact points in electrical and motor control switches. High quality speaker systems may use silver wires for their magnet wire to achieve optimum sound.
Sold in a range of conductor diameters, the insulation fibre covering the silver wire can be nylon, polyester, PTFE, polyimide or polyurethane. Depending on the insulation used the maximum temperature that can be applied to the wire will vary.