Silver iodide

Silver iodide is an inorganic compound, having the formula AgI. The compounds are usually in solid state and have a bright yellow colour, but samples almost always contain impurities of metallic silver that give a gray coloration. The silver contamination arises because AgI is highly photosensitive. This property is exploited in silver-based photography. Silver iodide is also used as an antiseptic and in cloud seeding.

Preparation and properties

Silver iodide is obtained after the reaction between an iodide solution (eg: potassium iodide) with a solution of silver ions (eg: silver nitrate) has taken place. Immediately after, a yellowish solid quickly precipitates. This solid is a mixture of two principal phases. If the preparation is not conducted in the absence of sunlight, the solid darkens rapidly. The photosensitivity varies with sample purity.

Cloud seeding

The crystalline structure of β-AgI is similar to that of ice, allowing it to induce freezing by the process known as heterogeneous nucleation. Approximately 50,000 kg/year are used for cloud seeding annually, each seeding experiment consuming 10-50 grams.

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