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Tollens' Test for Aldehydes



Silver nitrate stains fingers

Potassium hydroxide is caustic and toxic

Ammonia is caustic and has irritating vapors

The greatest is hazard is formation of silver fulminate.  To avoid formation of silver fulminate dispose of the Tollens' test immediately after performing the experiment.

Chemicals and Solutions: 

Tollens' Solution A (dilute sugar/acid)

Tollens' Solution B (potassium hydroxide, silver nitrate, ammonia)



500 ml test tube and rack

Add 6 mL of Tollens' Solution A to the large test tube.

Pour in 400 mL of Tollens' Solution B.  Within a minute the tube should darken and begin to form a silver mirror.


To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.



Hakme (hahngmee) Lee

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606


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