What is observed when an iron bar is dipped into a solution of silver nitrate?

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t-nez eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When an iron bar is dipped into silver nitrate a coating of dendrite-like silver particles will deposit on the surface of the iron. The solution, which starts out colorless, will begin to have a light green color. The mass of the iron bar will decrease.

This is a single replacement (also called single displacement) reaction. It occurs because iron is more reactive than silver. The solution initially contains Ag+ ions and NO3- ions. When the Ag+ ions come into contact with the iron electrons are transferred from iron to silver. This produces neutral silver metal which isn't soluble and Fe2+ ions which dissolve in solution to give a green color. Iron has "replaced" or "displaced" silver in the nitrate compound. Evaporation of the resulting solution would produce solid iron(II)nitrate.

Here's the equation for this reaction:

`Fe + 2AgNO_3 -> 2Ag + Fe(NO_3)_2`

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