Silver Tree Chemistry Demonstration

Silver Crystals on a Copper Tree

You can use a chemical reaction to deposit silver crystals like these onto a copper Christmas tree form to make a silver tree.
You can use a chemical reaction to deposit silver crystals like these onto a copper Christmas tree form to make a silver tree. Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
In this simple chemistry demonstration or crystal project you'll grow a silver crystal tree. This is a variation of the classic method of growing silver crystals on a copper wire or bead of mercury.

Silver Crystal Tree Materials

  • sheet of copper that has been cut into a tree shape or a tree made from copper wire
  • 0.1 M silver nitrate solution

Grow a Silver Crystal Tree

All you need to do is place the copper tree into the silver nitrate solution.
Silver will be reduced on the copper, forming silver crystals. Crystals begin forming immediately and should be visible within an hour. You can allow the silver crystal tree to sit in an undisturbed location for a day or two for peak crystal growth.

How It Works

A displacement reaction is responsible for crystal formation:

2 Ag+ + Cu → Cu2+ + 2 Ag

When you are finished growing the silver crystals, you can remove the tree from the solution and use it as a decoration.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Silver Tree Chemistry Demonstration." ThoughtCo, Nov. 18, 2016, thoughtco.com/silver-tree-chemistry-demonstration-608437. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2016, November 18). Silver Tree Chemistry Demonstration. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/silver-tree-chemistry-demonstration-608437 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Silver Tree Chemistry Demonstration." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/silver-tree-chemistry-demonstration-608437 (accessed May 23, 2018).