Colloidal Silver | Silver Colloids

How To Compare Colloidal Silver Products

Because there is no accepted standard for reporting the contents of colloidal silver products, producers report the properties of their products is various ways. The normal practice is to report the total silver content and nothing else. One problem with reporting total silver is that it lumps together the silver particles and silver ions in a single value. The technical differences between ions and particles are significant. We will try to explain the differences in an easily understood fashion. (See The Truth About Ionic Silver).

Another problem with using total silver for comparison purposes is that it does not take into account either the particle size, particle surface area, or the particle concentration which are the most important properties of colloids.

Colloidal Silver Products: Particle Size

In his booklet "Silver Colloids", Professor Ronald Gibbs wrote "The size of the particles in the colloidal silver suspensions we use for health purposes is very important. Particle size controls the surface area and therefore the effectiveness of the colloidal silver suspension."

Particle Size and Particle Surface Area

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Particle surface area is the property of a colloid that determines its effectiveness. Particle size has a direct effect on particle surface area, but in the exact opposite way from what you might expect . . . because particle surface area increases as particle size decreases.

To understand the effect of particle size on surface area, consider a U.S. silver dollar. The silver dollar contains 26.96 grams of coin silver, has a diameter of about 40 mm, and has a total surface area of approximately 27.70 square centimeters. If the same amount of coin silver were divided into tiny particles — say 1 nanometer (nm) in diameter — the total surface area of those particles would be 11,400 square meters, which is equal to 122,708 square feet, or 2.817 acres! When the amount of coin silver contained in a silver dollar is rendered into 1 nm particles, the surface area of those particles is 4.115 million times greater than the surface area of the silver dollar! So you can see by this example that the smaller the particles and the more of them, the greater the particle surface area.

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The Importance Of Particle Surface Area

Particle surface area is the property of a colloid that translates directly to the ability of the colloid to react with its environment. Effectiveness of colloids is predicated on exposing the largest possible surface area of the metal particles to the areas of interest. The importance of colloid particle surface area cannot be over emphasized. It is the single most important attribute for determining how effectively the colloidal particles will interact with their environment inside the human body.

In the chemical world, reactivity increases with increasing surface area. For this reason particle surface area is an excellent metric for comparing the physical properties of colloidal products. A more technical discussion on particle surface area can be found by clicking here.

Particle Concentration

The metal concentration in parts-per-million (ppm) expresses the weight of the metal vs. the weight of the liquid it is suspended in. Particle concentration can be a very confusing measurement when comparing colloidal silver products because colloids having very large particles can have a high concentration of metal (ppm) but a very low particle surface area. Concentration (ppm) by itself is not what determines colloidal effectiveness; it is only the particle surface area that does.

Particle surface area increases as the concentration of silver particles increases. Therefore, true silver colloids that have a high percentage of their silver content in the form of particles will have the highest particle surface area.

To achieve a high particle surface area for a given concentration (ppm) of metal requires that the size of the particles be extremely small. The smallest colloid particles ever measured in the lab are only a few times the diameter of the atoms themselves and are less than one nanometer in diameter. The highest particle surface area is achieved when there is a high concentration of these nanometer- sized particles. While this is the desired result, it is also the most difficult to achieve.


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Since most producers of colloids neither indicate nor differentiate the properties of particle size, particle surface area or particle concentration on the labels of their products, the only way to know these properties is by laboratory analysis. Unless the lab has specialized scientific equipment specifically designed to characterize the properties of colloids, the data can be of questionable accuracy. Particle surface area in particular can be very challenging to measure. It first requires an accurate determination of the particle size and concentration. Because of the difficulty involved, these measurements should be performed by a laboratory that specializes in performing analysis of colloids.

Colloidal Science Laboratory (CSL) performs these measurements and publishes the results of a standardized set of physical property measurements. These results include calculating the particle surface area. See Determining Properties for technical details about how the laboratory analysis is performed by CSL.

CSL produces a Comparison Table that shows an example of how to evaluate various products by comparing the properties associated with particle surface area. Data from the product reports is compiled into a table so the reader can compare products based on costs and particle surface area. Surface area is expressed in square centimeters (cm 2) per milliliter (mL) of colloidal solution, and is written as (cm 2/mL).

See the Commercial Product Reports section of this site for detailed reports on colloidal products that CSL has analyzed.

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