Silver crystals forming. Time-lapse microscopy footage of crystals of silver forming on copper during a metal displacement reaction. Copper is a more reactive metal than silver. Over time, copper displaces (replaces) the silver in the silver nitrate solution to form a solution of copper nitrate. The silver that is displaced out of solution crystallizes on the copper. The chemical reaction is: Cu + 2AgNO3 -> Cu(NO3)2 +2Ag.