Main Difference – Pewter vs Silver
Pewter and silver are two substances that are common for their shiny appearance. Pewter has been used since ancient times. It is a metal alloy which mainly contains tin metal. Silver, on the other hand, is a very useful metal and is used to make jewelry, coins, etc. However, pewter is not suitable for applications involving high temperatures because it has a considerably low melting point when compared to other metals and metal alloys. The main difference between pewter and silver is that pewter is a metal alloy whereas silver is a pure metal.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Pewter
– Definition, Composition, Properties, Importance
2. What is Silver
– Definition, Chemical Properties, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Pewter and Silver
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Alloy, Bismuth, Copper, Ductility, Gold, Lead, Malleable, Metal, Pewter, Silver, Tin
What is Pewter
Pewter is a metal alloy composed of tin mixed with copper, antimony, and bismuth. Sometimes lead is also used, but it is less common due to it toxicity considerations. Instead, silver is added. However, about 80-90% of this alloy is composed of tin. This metal alloy is known for its malleability.
Pewter has a low melting point around 170-230oC. However, the melting point depends on the metals mixed in the production of the metal alloy. This metal alloy has a silvery-grey appearance. Pewter has been commonly used in the ancient world. But this older version contained more lead. Due to health concerns, lead is not used nowadays for the production of pewter jewelry that has direct contact with human body.
What is Silver
Silver is a chemical element that has the atomic number 47 and the symbol Ag. Silver can be found as a pure metal in nature. It can also be found as a metal alloy with gold or other metal elements and as a component in some mineral compounds. The atomic mass of silver is 107.86 amu. The electron configuration is given as [Kr]4d105s1.
Silver is a very shiny metal. Therefore, it can be used in the production of mirrors, telescopes, etc. A polished surface of silver can reflect about 95% of incident light. Silver can be found in nature in two forms: as the pure metal or as a metal alloy with gold. Silver metal is not toxic, but silver salts can be toxic. The ductility of silver seconds only to that of gold. Silver is one of the best electrical and thermal conductors. It is resistant to corrosion and is stable in the presence of oxygen and water. But when kept exposed to air, the surface is tarnished due to the reaction between sulfur compounds and silver.
Among various chemical reactions of silver, the formation of metal halides is a common reaction. Silver chloride, silver bromide, and silver iodide are precipitates. Therefore, it can sometimes be used to find out the presence of silver ions in a solution. Silver forms coordination compounds as well.
Silver is commonly used in the production of coins and jewelry. There are medicinal applications of silver as well; silver is used for wound dressings, to treat external infections and as a component in ointments used to treat wounds caused by burns.
Difference Between Pewter and Silver
Pewter: Pewter is a metal alloy composed of tin mixed with copper, antimony, and bismuth.
Silver: Silver is a chemical element that has the atomic number 47 and the symbol Ag.
Pewter: Pewter is a metal alloy.
Silver: Silver is a pure metal.
Pewter: Pewter is composed mainly of tin metal along with copper, antimony, and bismuth and sometimes even lead (or silver).
Silver: Silver is a pure metal though it may be found with some impurities.
Pewter: Pewter has a silvery-gray appearance.
Silver: Silver has a characteristic shiny appearance.
Pewter: The melting point of pewter is very low (about 170-230oC) and may vary depending on the metals present in the mixture.
Silver: Melting point of silver is 961.8 °C.
Pewter and silver are important metallic substances that have been used since ancient times. They have different applications based on their properties and appearances. The main difference between pewter and silver is that pewter is a metal alloy whereas silver is a pure metal.
1. “Romanian plate depicting shoemaker’s workshop, 1760, pewter – Bata Shoe Museum – DSC00297” By Daderot – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Silver crystal” By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (additional processed by Waugsberg) (CC BY-SA 3.0 de) via Commons Wikimedia