Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it possesses the highest electrical conductivity of any element, the highest thermal conductivity of any metal and is the most reflective metal on the planet.
While silver has long been valued as a precious metal it is also used in currency coins, solar panels, water filtration, jewelry and ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils (hence the term silverware) and as an investment in the forms of coins and bullion. Silver is used industrially in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings and in catalysis of chemical reactions. Its compounds are used in photographic film and X-rays. Dilute silver nitrate solutions and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides (oligodynamic effect), added to bandages and wound-dressings, catheters and other medical instruments.