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Technical info on silver stain reacting to the tin side of float glass

Q. Hello,

I'm a 3rd architectural glass student at Wrexham University and I am currently doing my final year project using silver nitrate (silver stain) on my glass. I would like to know some technical information on silver stain, mainly of the reaction of the silver stain with float glass especially on the tin side. What is the chemical reaction? I hope that you can help in some way to give me a better understanding on silver nitrate in general, but mostly the affects on glass.

Luke Wilkinson
- Wrexham, North Wales

A. I was recently at a glass museum and they had a good collection of silvered glasses, cups, and serving containers. They were blown in double-walled fashion and looked basically like the innards of a thermos bottle, but shaped into these different articles.The idea being that you have to keep the air out if you want to keep the silver bright.

Anyway, this kind of silvering is done with two-part solutions. One part is silver nitrate, the other part is a reducing agent that reduces the silver ions to metallic silver. I don't think the glass has anything to do with the chemical reaction.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

I think the question was about silver staining glass yellow, not about silvering glass.

Rebecca Hartman-Baker
- Kingsport, Tennessee, USA
February 18, 2012

Hi Rebecca. I believe that you are right, and that my misinterpretation was due to my not realizing the use of silver nitrate in staining glass. Thanks. If you have any information on the subject of staining glass yellow with silver nitrate, please start the discussion in that direction.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 18, 2012

September 17, 2012

A few resources for staining glass:

The rule of thumb with anything to do with hot glass is to test it first. Test the silver stain on the tinned side as well as the non-tinned side to see what's going to get the desired effect.

tom butler
- thermopolis, Wyoming, usa

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