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I want to make a very shiny surface, like a mirror. I tried to use chrome paint but it's barely shiny. It's more like gray even though I bought one of the most expensive chrome looking paint.

I know mirrors can be produced using Tollen's reagent on glass (seen some demonstrations on YouTube).

But glass is quite expensive for what I want - I would like to make the mirror on plastic - more specifically on PET - the same material that a normal Coca Cola bottle is made from. I have big sheets of this PET material and I intend to transform them into mirrors.

Will silver deposit on the PET as it does on glass?

I need to order the ingredients online, then wait for it a couple of days - also because they are quite large quantities, it will end up being quite expensive. So, before making a mistake, I thought to ask here.

Could I use a Tollen's reaction to make a mirror on plastic?

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    $\begingroup$ As I remember from the book "Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman!",stable silver coating of plastics is very difficult to achieve. It may depend on plastics and may require mechanical a/o chemicsl preprocessing of surface. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Jun 3, 2019 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ It will be endangered by plastics eventual flexing and would need fixing, otherwise it would be damaged soon by scraping and falling off. I suppose you cannot avoid experimental testing. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Jun 3, 2019 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely worth a test, if nobody knows of course. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Jun 3, 2019 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ See this for alternative metalization techniques: thomasnet.com/articles/custom-manufacturing-fabricating/… $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2019 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ The real barrier to doing this is not finding chemistry that will work: it is finding conditions that yield a good, stable, unblemished coating. In the early days of CD production, many CDs got their mirror coating chemically (later that was mostly replaced by sputtering). But this, even in well designed factories, often had a high defect rate as many CDs ended up with holes and imperfect coatings. The chemistry worked but it proved very hard to get surfaces clean enough to give good coatings. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Dec 10, 2022 at 17:57

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I found a video on YouTube making a mirror on PET bottles.

Just that it consumes quite a lot of substance, and is not using Tollens reagent. My question is specifically about Tollens reagent.

What she uses is some "secret mixture" called RA-205.

It just proves that Ag can precipitate on PET bottles, which further supports the fact that will work with Tollens reagent. I'm will edit this answer once I execute my experiment, so this finding may only be somewhat helpful.

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    $\begingroup$ Even though this is very interesting and relevant information, I think currently it looks like this is better suited as an edit to your question and not as an answer. However, do keep in mind that answering your own question is a good practice:) $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Jun 4, 2019 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ @andselisk yes indeed, started with an edit that was quite long, then i changed my mind and made it an answer. I intent to continue it, i will provide the results of the experiments in an edit on this answer. I need the package with ingredients delivered first. People can post answers in the mean time, and i'm gonna choose those as the best answer if they answer the question. Nice to see your effort of keeping this community high quality though :) $\endgroup$
    – AIon
    Jun 4, 2019 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ The silver deposition itself is much smaller problem them mirror layer durability. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Jun 6, 2019 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ Worth noting that whatever method you choose, you can test it without committing to buying large quantities of reagents. Try it first on small pieces of the PET film and only buy large quantities once you have refined the method. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Dec 15, 2021 at 15:36

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