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Silver Halides in Early Film Technology

As a full-service refinery, precious metal sellers who are new clients of ours are often surprised about the variety of scrap we pay for. We do not accept certain types of silver-bearing photographic film.

The film we’re talking about is made with a base of transparent plastic film, coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopic silver halide crystals. Silver halides are chemical compounds made from silver and one of the five halogens in chemistry (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine).
Silver halides are light-sensitive chemicals. When the film is exposed to light, photons interact with the silver halides and turn them into metallic silver. The thoroughness of the silver halides’ transformation back into metallic silver depends on how much light the film is exposed to. Silver halides exposed to larger amounts of light transform the furthest and create the areas on the film with the highest optical density.

Silver halides are also used to create photochromic lenses for corrective eyewear (the kind that darken when exposed to UV light). Our refinery can accept silver halide-containing scrap, but only in bulk. The amount of silver in these products is extremely small. If you have any questions about our refinery and capabilities, please contact us.

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