HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Tin is a
chemical element A chemical element is a species of atoms that have a given number of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei, including the pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of that species. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements canno ...
with the
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different ...
Sn (from la, stannum) and
atomic number The atomic number or nuclear charge number (symbol ''Z'') of a chemical element is the charge number of an atomic nucleus. For ordinary nuclei, this is equal to the proton number (''n''p) or the number of protons found in the nucleus of every ...
 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent, the so-called "
tin cry Tin cry is the characteristic sound heard when a bar made of tin is bent. Variously described as a "screaming" or "crackling" sound, the effect is caused by the Crystal twinning#Deformation twinning, crystal twinning in the metal. The sound is no ...
" can be heard as a result of twinning in tin crystals; this trait is shared by
indium Indium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol In and atomic number 49. Indium is the softest metal that is not an alkali metal. It is a silvery-white metal that resembles tin in appearance. It is a post-transition metal that ma ...
,
cadmium Cadmium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, silvery-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12 element, group 12, zinc and mercury (element), mercury. Li ...
,
zinc Zinc is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a slightly brittle metal at room temperature and has a shiny-greyish appearance when oxidation is removed. It is the first element in group 12 eleme ...
, and mercury in the solid state. Pure tin after solidifying presents a mirror-like appearance similar to most metals. In most tin
alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of a metal in the resulting material, such as electrical conductivity, ductility, ...
s (such as
pewter Pewter () is a ductility, malleable metal alloy consisting of tin (85–99%), antimony (approximately 5–10%), copper (2%), bismuth, and sometimes silver. Copper and antimony (and in antiquity lead) act as hardeners, but lead may be used in lowe ...
) the metal solidifies with a dull gray color. Tin is a
post-transition metal The metallic elements in the periodic table located between the transition metals and the chemically weak nonmetallic metalloids have received many names in the literature, such as ''post-transition metals'', ''poor metals'', ''other metals'', ...
in group 14 of the
periodic table of elements The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of the (chemical) elements, is a rows and columns arrangement of the chemical elements. It is widely used in chemistry, physics, and other sciences, and is generally seen as an Cultural i ...
. It is obtained chiefly from the
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...
cassiterite Cassiterite is a tin oxide mineral, tin dioxide, SnO2. It is generally Opacity (optics), opaque, but it is translucent in thin crystals. Its Lustre (mineralogy), luster and multiple crystal faces produce a desirable gem. Cassiterite was the chief ...
, which contains
stannic oxide Tin(IV) oxide, also known as stannic oxide, is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula, formula SnO2. The mineral form of SnO2 is called cassiterite, and this is the main ore of tin. With many other names, this oxide of tin is an importan ...
, . Tin shows a chemical similarity to both of its neighbors in group 14,
germanium Germanium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is lustrous, hard-brittle, grayish-white and similar in appearance to silicon. It is a metalloid in the carbon group that is chemically similar to it ...
and
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
, and has two main
oxidation state In chemistry, the oxidation state, or oxidation number, is the hypothetical Electrical charge, charge of an atom if all of its Chemical bond, bonds to different atoms were fully Ionic bond, ionic. It describes the degree of oxidation (loss of elec ...
s, +2 and the slightly more stable +4. Tin is the 49th most abundant element on Earth and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable
isotope Isotopes are two or more types of atoms that have the same atomic number (number of protons in their nuclei) and position in the periodic table (and hence belong to the same chemical element), and that differ in nucleon numbers (mass numbe ...
s in the periodic table, thanks to its magic number of protons. It has two main
allotropes Allotropy or allotropism () is the property of some chemical element A chemical element is a species of atoms that have a given number of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei, including the pure Chemical substance, substance consistin ...
: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white,
malleable Ductility is a List of materials properties, mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to Drawing (manufacturing), drawing (e.g. into wire). In materials science, ductility is defined by the degree to which a materia ...
metal; at low temperatures it is less dense grey α-tin, which has the
diamond cubic The diamond cubic crystal structure is a repeating pattern of 8 atoms that certain materials may adopt as they solidify. While the first known example was diamond, other elements in carbon group, group 14 also adopt this structure, including ti ...
structure. Metallic tin does not easily
oxidize Redox (reduction–oxidation, , ) is a type of chemical reaction in which the oxidation states of substrate (chemistry), substrate change. Oxidation is the loss of Electron, electrons or an increase in the oxidation state, while reduction ...
in air and water. The first tin alloy used on a large scale was
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
, made of  tin and  
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
, from as early as 3000 BC. After 600 BC, pure metallic tin was produced.
Pewter Pewter () is a ductility, malleable metal alloy consisting of tin (85–99%), antimony (approximately 5–10%), copper (2%), bismuth, and sometimes silver. Copper and antimony (and in antiquity lead) act as hardeners, but lead may be used in lowe ...
, which is an alloy of 85–90% tin with the remainder commonly consisting of
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
,
antimony Antimony is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Sb (from la, wiktionary:stibium#Latin, stibium) and atomic number 51. A lustrous gray metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite (Sb2S3). Antimony ...
, bismuth, and sometimes lead and silver, has been used for flatware since the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
. In modern times, tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin / lead soft
solder Solder (; North American English, NA: ) is a fusible alloy, fusible metal alloy used to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces. Solder is melted in order to wet the parts of the joint, where it adheres to and connects the pieces afte ...
s, which are typically 60% or more tin, and in the manufacture of transparent, electrically conducting films of
indium tin oxide Indium tin oxide (ITO) is a ternary composition of indium, tin and oxygen in varying proportions. Depending on the oxygen content, it can be described as either a ceramic or an alloy. Indium tin oxide is typically encountered as an oxygen-saturated ...
in
optoelectronic Optoelectronics (or optronics) is the study and application of electronics, electronic devices and systems that find, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics. In this context, ''light'' often includes invisible form ...
applications. Another large application is
corrosion Corrosion is a Erosion, natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable oxide. It is the gradual deterioration of materials (usually a metal) by chemical or electrochemical reaction with their environment. Corrosio ...
-resistant tin plating of
steel Steel is an alloy made up of iron with added carbon to improve its strength of materials, strength and fracture toughness, fracture resistance compared to other forms of iron. Many other elements may be present or added. Stainless steels that ...
. Because of the low toxicity of inorganic tin, tin-plated steel is widely used for food packaging as tin cans. Some organotin compounds can be extremely toxic.


Characteristics


Physical

Tin is a soft,
malleable Ductility is a List of materials properties, mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to Drawing (manufacturing), drawing (e.g. into wire). In materials science, ductility is defined by the degree to which a materia ...
,
ductile Ductility is a List of materials properties, mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to Drawing (manufacturing), drawing (e.g. into wire). In materials science, ductility is defined by the degree to which a materia ...
and highly
crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. In addition, macrosc ...
line silvery-white
metal A metal (from ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electrical resistivity and conductivity, e ...
. When a bar of tin is bent a crackling sound known as the "
tin cry Tin cry is the characteristic sound heard when a bar made of tin is bent. Variously described as a "screaming" or "crackling" sound, the effect is caused by the Crystal twinning#Deformation twinning, crystal twinning in the metal. The sound is no ...
" can be heard from the twinning of the crystals. Tin melts at about the lowest in group 14. The melting point is further lowered to for 11 nm particles. β-tin, the metallic form or white tin, has BCT structure and is stable at and above room temperature and is malleable. α-tin, the nonmetallic form or gray tin, is stable below and is
brittle A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress (physics), stress, it fractures with little elastic deformation and without significant plastic deformation. Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of h ...
. α-tin has a
diamond cubic The diamond cubic crystal structure is a repeating pattern of 8 atoms that certain materials may adopt as they solidify. While the first known example was diamond, other elements in carbon group, group 14 also adopt this structure, including ti ...
crystal structure In crystallography, crystal structure is a description of the ordered arrangement of atoms, ions or molecules in a crystal, crystalline material. Ordered structures occur from the intrinsic nature of the constituent particles to form symmetric pat ...
, similar to
diamond Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure In crystallography, crystal structure is a description of the ordered arrangement of atoms, ions or molecules in a crystal, crystalline material ...
,
silicon Silicon is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard, brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic luster, and is a Tetravalence, tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member ...
or
germanium Germanium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is lustrous, hard-brittle, grayish-white and similar in appearance to silicon. It is a metalloid in the carbon group that is chemically similar to it ...
. α-tin has no metallic properties, because its atoms form a
covalent A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electrons to form electron pairs between atoms. These electron pairs are known as shared pairs or bonding pairs. The stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms ...
structure in which electrons cannot move freely. α-tin is a dull-gray powdery material with no common uses other than specialized
semiconductor A semiconductor is a material which has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such as copper, and an insulator (electricity), insulator, such as glas ...
applications. γ-tin and σ-tin exist at temperatures above   and pressures above several GPa. In cold conditions β-tin tends to transform spontaneously into α-tin, a phenomenon known as "
tin pest Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
" or "tin disease". Some unverifiable sources also say that, during
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who ...
's Russian campaign of 1812, the temperatures became so cold that the tin buttons on the soldiers' uniforms disintegrated over time, contributing to the defeat of the Grande Armée, a persistent legend. The α-β transformation temperature is , but impurities (e.g. Al, Zn, etc.) lower it well below . With the addition of
antimony Antimony is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Sb (from la, wiktionary:stibium#Latin, stibium) and atomic number 51. A lustrous gray metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite (Sb2S3). Antimony ...
or
bismuth Bismuth is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Bi and atomic number 83. It is a post-transition metal and one of the pnictogens, with chemical properties resembling its lighter group 15 siblings arsenic and antimony. Elemental ...
the transformation might not occur at all, increasing durability. Commercial grades of tin (99.8% tin content) resist transformation because of the inhibiting effect of small amounts of bismuth, antimony, lead, and silver present as impurities. Alloying elements such as copper, antimony, bismuth, cadmium, and silver increase the hardness of tin. Tin easily forms hard, brittle intermetallic phases that are typically undesirable. It does not mix into a solution with most metals and elements so tin does not have much solid solubility. Tin mixes well with
bismuth Bismuth is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Bi and atomic number 83. It is a post-transition metal and one of the pnictogens, with chemical properties resembling its lighter group 15 siblings arsenic and antimony. Elemental ...
,
gallium Gallium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Discovered by France, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, Gallium is in boron group, group 13 of the periodic table and is similar to ...
,
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
,
thallium Thallium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Tl and atomic number 81. It is a gray post-transition metal that is not found free in nature. When isolated, thallium resembles tin, but discolors when exposed to air. Chemists W ...
and
zinc Zinc is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a slightly brittle metal at room temperature and has a shiny-greyish appearance when oxidation is removed. It is the first element in group 12 eleme ...
forming simple eutectic systems. Tin becomes a superconductor below 3.72  K and was one of the first superconductors to be studied. The
Meissner effect The Meissner effect (or Meissner–Ochsenfeld effect) is the expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state when it is cooled below the critical temperature. This expulsion will repel a n ...
, one of the characteristic features of superconductors, was first discovered in superconducting tin crystals.


Chemical

Tin resists corrosion from
water Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living ...
, but can be corroded by
acid An acid is a molecule or ion capable of either donating a proton (i.e. hydrogen ion, H+), known as a Brønsted–Lowry acid, or forming a covalent bond with an electron pair, known as a Lewis acid A Lewis acid (named for the American p ...
s and
alkali In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds made of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, ...
s. Tin can be highly polished and is used as a protective coat for other metals, a protective oxide ( passivation) layer prevents further oxidation. Tin acts as a
catalyst Catalysis () is the process of increasing the reaction rate, rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst (). Catalysts are not consumed in the reaction and remain unchanged after it. If the reaction is rapid and the ...
triggering a chemical reaction of a solution containing
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of the chalcogen Group (periodic table), group in the periodic table, a highly Chemical reaction, reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing a ...
and helps to increase the speed of the chemical reaction that results.


Isotopes

Tin has ten stable isotopes, the greatest number of any element. The isotopes of tin have atomic masses of 112, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 122, and 124. 120Sn makes up almost a third of all tin; 118Sn, and 116Sn are also common, while 115Sn is the least common stable isotope. The isotopes with even
mass number The mass number (symbol ''A'', from the German word ''Atomgewicht'' tomic weight, also called atomic mass number or nucleon number, is the total number of proton A proton is a stable subatomic particle, symbol , H+, or 1H+ with a positive e ...
s have no
nuclear spin In atomic physics, the spin quantum number is a quantum number (designated ) which describes the intrinsic angular momentum (or spin angular momentum, or simply spin (physics), spin) of an electron or other Elementary particle, particle. The phra ...
, while those with odd mass numbers have a spin of 1/2. Tin is among the easiest elements to detect and analyze by
NMR spectroscopy Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, most commonly known as NMR spectroscopy or magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), is a Spectroscopy, spectroscopic technique to observe local magnetic fields around Atomic nucleus, atomic nuclei. The sampl ...
which relies on molecular weight and its
chemical shift In nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, the chemical shift is the resonance, resonant frequency of an atomic nucleus relative to a standard in a magnetic field. Often the position and number of chemical shifts are diagnostic of the str ...
s are referenced against .Only H, F, P, Tl and Xe are easier to use NMR analysis with for samples containing isotopes at their natural abundance. The large number of stable isotopes is thought to be a direct result of tin having the
atomic number The atomic number or nuclear charge number (symbol ''Z'') of a chemical element is the charge number of an atomic nucleus. For ordinary nuclei, this is equal to the proton number (''n''p) or the number of protons found in the nucleus of every ...
50, a " magic number" in nuclear physics. Of the stable isotopes Tin-115 has a high capture cross section for fast neutron energies at 30 Barns. Two other isotopes Tin-117 ranks next with a cross section of 2.3 Barn while isotope Tin-119 has a slightly smaller cross section of 2.2 Barn. Before these cross sections were well known it was proposed to use Tin-Lead solder as a reactor coolant for fast reactors because of its low melting point. Current studies are for Lead or Lead-Bismuth reactor coolants because both heavy metals are nearly transparent to fast neutrons with very low capture cross sections. In order to use a Tin or Tin-Lead coolant the Tin would first have to go through isotopes separation to remove the 115, 117 and 119 isotopes from the material. Combined these three isotopes make up about 17% of the entire mass of natural Tin but represent nearly all of the capture cross section. Of the remaining seven isotopes Tin-112 has a capture cross section of 1 Barn. The other six isotopes forming 82.7% of all Tin have capture cross sections of 0.3 Barn or less making them effectively transparent to neutrons like Lead and Bismuth. Tin has 31 unstable isotopes, ranging in mass number from 99 to 139. The unstable tin isotopes have a half-life of less than a year except 126Sn which has a
half-life Half-life (symbol ) is the time required for a quantity (of substance) to reduce to half of its initial value. The term is commonly used in nuclear physics to describe how quickly unstable atoms undergo radioactive decay or how long stable ato ...
of 230,000 years. 100Sn and 132Sn are two of the few
nuclide A nuclide (or nucleide, from atomic nucleus, nucleus, also known as nuclear species) is a class of atoms characterized by their number of protons, ''Z'', their number of neutrons, ''N'', and their nuclear energy state. The word ''nuclide'' was co ...
s with a " doubly magic" nucleus which despite being unstable, as they have very uneven neutron–proton ratios, are the endpoints beyond which tin isotopes lighter than 100Sn and heavier than 132Sn are much less stable. Another 30 metastable isomers have been identified for tin isotopes between 111 and 131, the most stable being 121mSn, with a half-life of 43.9 years. The relative differences in the number of tin's stable isotopes can be explained by how they are formed during
stellar nucleosynthesis Stellar nucleosynthesis is the creation (nucleosynthesis) of chemical element A chemical element is a species of atoms that have a given number of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei, including the pure Chemical substance, substance c ...
. 116Sn through 120Sn are formed in the ''s''-process (slow neutron capture) in most
star A star is an astronomical object comprising a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked ...
s which leads to them being the most common tin isotopes, while 122Sn and 124Sn are only formed in the ''r''-process (rapid neutron capture) in
supernovae A supernova is a powerful and luminous explosion of a star. It has the plural form supernovae or supernovas, and is abbreviated SN or SNe. This transient astronomical event occurs during the last stellar evolution, evolutionary stages of a mass ...
and are less common. Tin isotopes 117Sn through 120Sn are also produced in the ''r''-process. 112Sn, 114Sn, and 115Sn, cannot be made in significant amounts in the ''s''- or ''r''-processes and are among the p-nuclei whose origins are not well understood. Some ideas about for their formation include
proton capture Proton capture is a nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus and one or more protons collide and merge to form a heavier nucleus. Since protons have positive electric charge, they are repelled Electrostatics, electrostatically by the positive ...
and
photodisintegration Photodisintegration (also called phototransmutation, or a photonuclear reaction) is a nuclear process in which an atomic nucleus absorbs a high-energy gamma ray, enters an excited state, and immediately decays by emitting a subatomic particle. The ...
, 115Sn might be partially produced in the ''s''-process both directly and as the daughter of long-lived 115In.


Etymology

The word ''tin'' is shared among
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken ...
and can be traced back to reconstructed
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic languages, Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from ...
;
cognate In historical linguistics, cognates or lexical cognates are sets of words in different languages that have been inherited in direct descent from an etymological ancestor in a common parent language. Because language change can have radical ...
s include German , Swedish and Dutch . It is not found in other branches of
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
, except by borrowing from Germanic (e.g., Irish from English). The
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
name for tin, , originally meant an alloy of silver and lead, and came to mean 'tin' in the fourth century—the earlier Latin word for it was , or "white lead". apparently came from an earlier (meaning the same substance), the origin of the Romance and Celtic terms for ''tin'', such as French ,
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
, Italian , and Irish . The origin of / is unknown; it may be pre-
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
. The suggests instead that came from Cornish , and is evidence that
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...
in the first centuries AD was the main source of tin.


History

Tin extraction and use can be dated to the beginnings of the Bronze Age around 3000 BC, when it was observed that
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
objects formed of polymetallic ores with different metal contents had different physical properties. The earliest bronze objects had a tin or arsenic content of less than 2% and are believed to be the result of unintentional alloying due to trace metal content in the copper ore. The addition of a second metal to copper increases its hardness, lowers the melting temperature, and improves the
casting Casting is a manufacturing process in which a liquid material is usually poured into a Mold (manufacturing), mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify. The solidified part is also known as a ''castin ...
process by producing a more fluid melt that cools to a denser, less spongy metal. This was an important innovation that allowed for the much more complex shapes cast in closed molds of the Bronze Age.
Arsenical bronze Arsenical bronze is an alloy in which arsenic, as opposed to or in addition to tin or other constituent metals, is combined with copper to make bronze. The use of arsenic with copper, either as the secondary constituent or with another component s ...
objects appear first in the Near East where arsenic is commonly found with copper ore, but the health risks were quickly realized and the quest for sources of the much less hazardous tin ores began early in the Bronze Age. This created the demand for rare tin metal and formed a trade network that linked the distant sources of tin to the markets of Bronze Age cultures.
Cassiterite Cassiterite is a tin oxide mineral, tin dioxide, SnO2. It is generally Opacity (optics), opaque, but it is translucent in thin crystals. Its Lustre (mineralogy), luster and multiple crystal faces produce a desirable gem. Cassiterite was the chief ...
(), the oxide form of tin, was most likely the original source of tin. Other tin ores are less common
sulfide Sulfide (British English also sulphide) is an inorganic chemistry, inorganic ion, anion of sulfur with the chemical formula S2− or a compound containing one or more S2− ions. Solutions of sulfide salts are corrosive. ''Sulfide'' also refers ...
s such as stannite that require a more involved
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore, to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including Silver mining#Ore processing, silver, iron-making, iron, copper extracti ...
process. Cassiterite often accumulates in
alluvial Alluvium (from Latin ''alluvius'', from ''alluere'' 'to wash against') is loose clay, silt, sand, or gravel that has been deposited by running water in a stream bed, on a floodplain, in an alluvial fan or beach, or in similar settings. Alluv ...
channels as
placer deposits In geology Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other Astronomical object, astronomical objects, the features or rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Mo ...
because it is harder, heavier, and more chemically resistant than the accompanying
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...
. Cassiterite is usually black or dark in color, and these deposits can be easily seen in river banks. Alluvial ( placer) deposits may incidentally have been collected and separated by methods similar to
gold panning Gold panning, or simply ''panning'', is a form of placer mining and traditional mining that extracts gold from a placer deposit using a pan. The process is one of the simplest ways to extract gold, and is popular with geology enthusiasts especia ...
.


Compounds and chemistry

In the great majority of its compounds, tin has the
oxidation state In chemistry, the oxidation state, or oxidation number, is the hypothetical Electrical charge, charge of an atom if all of its Chemical bond, bonds to different atoms were fully Ionic bond, ionic. It describes the degree of oxidation (loss of elec ...
II or IV. Compounds containing bivalent tin are called while those containing
tetravalent In chemistry, the valence (US spelling) or valency (British spelling) of an chemical element, element is the measure of its combining capacity with other atoms when it forms chemical compounds or molecules. Description The combining capacity, ...
tin are termed .


Inorganic compounds

Halide In chemistry, a halide (rarely halogenide) is a binary chemical compound, of which one part is a halogen atom Every atom is composed of a atomic nucleus, nucleus and one or more electrons bound to the nucleus. The nucleus is made of o ...
compounds are known for both oxidation states. For Sn(IV), all four halides are well known: SnF4, SnCl4, SnBr4, and SnI4. The three heavier members are volatile molecular compounds, whereas the tetrafluoride is polymeric. All four halides are known for Sn(II) also: SnF2, , SnBr2, and SnI2. All are polymeric solids. Of these eight compounds, only the iodides are colored.
Tin(II) chloride Tin(II) chloride, also known as stannous chloride, is a white crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming ...
(also known as stannous chloride) is the most important commercial tin halide. Illustrating the routes to such compounds,
chlorine Chlorine is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cl and atomic number 17. The second-lightest of the halogens, it appears between fluorine and bromine in the periodic table and its properties are mostly intermediate betwee ...
reacts with tin metal to give SnCl4 whereas the reaction of hydrochloric acid and tin produces and hydrogen gas. Alternatively SnCl4 and Sn combine to stannous chloride by a process called comproportionation: :SnCl4 + Sn → 2 Tin can form many oxides, sulfides, and other chalcogenide derivatives. The dioxide (cassiterite) forms when tin is heated in the presence of
air The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, known collectively as air, retained by Earth's gravity that surrounds the planet and forms its planetary atmosphere. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing fo ...
. is
amphoteric In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds made of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, struc ...
, which means that it dissolves in both acidic and basic solutions. Stannates with the structure []2−, like [], are also known, though the free stannic acid [] is unknown. Sulfides of tin exist in both the +2 and +4 oxidation states: tin(II) sulfide and tin(IV) sulfide ([ osaic gold).


Hydrides

Stannane (), with tin in the +4 oxidation state, is unstable. Organotin hydrides are however well known, e.g.
tributyltin hydride Tributyltin hydride is an organotin compound with the formula (C4H9)3SnH. It is a colorless liquid that is soluble in organic solvents. The compound is used as a source of hydrogen atoms in organic synthesis. Synthesis and characterization The c ...
(Sn(C4H9)3H). These compound release transient tributyl tin radicals, which are rare examples of compounds of tin(III).


Organotin compounds

Organotin compounds, sometimes called stannanes, are
chemical compounds A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) containing atoms from more than one chemical element held together by chemical bonds. A homonuclear molecule, molecule co ...
with tin–carbon bonds. Of the tin compounds, the organic derivatives are commercially the most useful. Some organotin compounds are highly toxic and have been used as
biocide A biocide is defined in the European legislation as a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a slig ...
s. The first organotin compound to be reported was diethyltin diiodide ((C2H5)2SnI2), reported by
Edward Frankland Sir Edward Frankland, (18 January 18259 August 1899) was an United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, English chemist. He was one of the originators of organometallic chemistry and introduced the concept of combining power or valence (chemi ...
in 1849. Most organotin compounds are colorless liquids or solids that are stable to air and water. They adopt tetrahedral geometry. Tetraalkyl- and tetraaryltin compounds can be prepared using
Grignard reagent A Grignard reagent or Grignard compound is a chemical compound with the general formula , where X is a halogen and R is an organic functional group, group, normally an alkyl or aryl. Two typical examples are methylmagnesium chloride and phenylma ...
s: : + 4 RMgBr → + 4 MgBrCl The mixed halide-alkyls, which are more common and more important commercially than the tetraorgano derivatives, are prepared by
redistribution reaction In chemistry, redistribution usually refers to the exchange of anionic ligands bonded to metal and metalloid centers. The conversion does not involve redox Redox (reduction–oxidation, , ) is a type of chemical reaction in which the oxid ...
s: : + → 2 R2 Divalent organotin compounds are uncommon, although more common than related divalent organogermanium and
organosilicon Organosilicon compounds are organometallic compounds containing carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent—its atom making four electrons a ...
compounds. The greater stabilization enjoyed by Sn(II) is attributed to the "
inert pair effect The inert-pair effect is the tendency of the two electrons in the outermost atomic ''s''-orbital to remain unshared in compounds of post-transition metals. The term ''inert-pair effect'' is often used in relation to the increasing stability of ox ...
". Organotin(II) compounds include both stannylenes (formula: R2Sn, as seen for singlet
carbene In organic chemistry, a carbene is a molecule containing a neutral carbon atom with a Valence (chemistry), valence of two and two unshared valence electrons. The general formula is or where the R represents substituents or hydrogen atoms. T ...
s) and distannylenes (R4Sn2), which are roughly equivalent to
alkene In organic chemistry, an alkene is a hydrocarbon containing a carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent—its atom making four electro ...
s. Both classes exhibit unusual reactions.


Occurrence

Tin is generated via the long ''s''-process in low-to-medium mass stars (with masses of 0.6 to 10 times that of the
Sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object comprising a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other st ...
), and finally by
beta decay In nuclear physics, beta decay (β-decay) is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle (fast energetic electron or positron) is emitted from an atomic nucleus, transforming the original nuclide to an isobar (nuclide), isobar of that ...
of the heavy isotopes of
indium Indium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol In and atomic number 49. Indium is the softest metal that is not an alkali metal. It is a silvery-white metal that resembles tin in appearance. It is a post-transition metal that ma ...
. Tin is the 49th most abundant element in
Earth's crust Earth's crust is Earth's thin outer shell of Rock (geology), rock, referring to less than 1% of Earth's radius and volume. It is the top component of the lithosphere, a division of Earth's layers that includes the Crust (geology), crust and the ...
, representing 2  ppm compared with 75 ppm for zinc, 50 ppm for copper, and 14 ppm for lead. Tin does not occur as the native element but must be extracted from various ores.
Cassiterite Cassiterite is a tin oxide mineral, tin dioxide, SnO2. It is generally Opacity (optics), opaque, but it is translucent in thin crystals. Its Lustre (mineralogy), luster and multiple crystal faces produce a desirable gem. Cassiterite was the chief ...
() is the only commercially important source of tin, although small quantities of tin are recovered from complex
sulfide Sulfide (British English also sulphide) is an inorganic chemistry, inorganic ion, anion of sulfur with the chemical formula S2− or a compound containing one or more S2− ions. Solutions of sulfide salts are corrosive. ''Sulfide'' also refers ...
s such as stannite, cylindrite, franckeite, canfieldite, and teallite. Minerals with tin are almost always associated with
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...
rock, usually at a level of 1% tin oxide content. Because of the higher
specific gravity Relative density, or specific gravity, is the ratio of the density (mass of a unit volume) of a substance to the density of a given reference material. Specific gravity for liquids is nearly always measured with respect to water (molecule), wa ...
of tin dioxide, about 80% of mined tin is from secondary deposits found downstream from the primary lodes. Tin is often recovered from granules washed downstream in the past and deposited in valleys or the sea. The most economical ways of mining tin are by
dredging Dredging is the Digging, excavation of material from a water environment. Possible reasons for dredging include improving existing water features; reshaping land and water features to alter drainage, navigability, and commercial use; constru ...
, hydraulicking, or open pits. Most of the world's tin is produced from placer deposits, which can contain as little as 0.015% tin. About 253,000 tonnes of tin were mined in 2011, mostly in China (110,000 t), Indonesia (51,000 t), Peru (34,600 t), Bolivia (20,700 t) and Brazil (12,000 t). Estimates of tin production have historically varied with the market and mining technology. It is estimated that, at current consumption rates and technologies, the Earth will run out of mine-able tin in 40 years. In 2006
Lester Brown Lester Russel Brown (born March 28, 1934) is an American environmental analysis, environmental analyst, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and former president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization, nonprofit rese ...
suggested tin could run out within 20 years based on conservative estimates of 2% annual growth. Scrap tin is an important source of the metal. Recovery of tin through recycling is increasing rapidly. Whereas the United States has neither mined (since 1993) nor smelted (since 1989) tin, it was the largest secondary producer, recycling nearly 14,000 tonnes in 2006. New deposits are reported in
Mongolia Mongolia; Mongolian script: , , ; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia" () is a landlocked country in East Asia, bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia border, to the north and China China–Mongolia border, to the s ...
, and in 2009, new deposits of tin were discovered in Colombia.


Production

Tin is produced by carbothermic reduction of the oxide
ore Ore is natural Rock (geology), rock or sediment that contains one or more valuable minerals, typically containing metals, that can be mined, treated and sold at a profit.Encyclopædia Britannica. "Ore". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Ret ...
with
carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent—its atom making four electrons available to form covalent bond, covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to gro ...
or coke. Both
reverberatory furnace A reverberatory furnace is a metallurgical or process furnace that isolates the material being processed from contact with the fuel A fuel is any material that can be made to react with other substances so that it releases energy as the ...
and electric furnace can be used.


Mining and smelting


Industry

The ten largest companies produced most of the world's tin in 2007. Most of the world's tin is traded on LME, from 8 countries, under 17 brands. International Tin Council was established in 1947 to control the price of tin. It collapsed in 1985. In 1984, ''Association of Tin Producing Countries'' was created, with Australia, Bolivia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Zaire as members.


Price and exchanges

Tin is unique among mineral commodities because of the complex agreements between producer countries and consumer countries dating back to 1921. Earlier agreements tended to be somewhat informal and led to the "First International Tin Agreement" in 1956, the first of a series that effectively collapsed in 1985. Through these agreements, the International Tin Council (ITC) had a considerable effect on tin prices. ITC supported the price of tin during periods of low prices by buying tin for its buffer stockpile and was able to restrain the price during periods of high prices by selling from the stockpile. This was an anti-free-market approach, designed to assure a sufficient flow of tin to consumer countries and a profit for producer countries. However, the buffer stockpile was not sufficiently large, and during most of those 29 years tin prices rose, sometimes sharply, especially from 1973 through 1980 when rampant inflation plagued many world economies. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. reduced its strategic tin stockpile, partly to take advantage of historically high tin prices. The 1981–82 recession damaged the tin industry. Tin consumption declined dramatically. ITC was able to avoid truly steep declines through accelerated buying for its buffer stockpile; this activity required extensive borrowing. ITC continued to borrow until late 1985 when it reached its credit limit. Immediately, a major "tin crisis" ensued — tin was delisted from trading on the
London Metal Exchange The London Metal Exchange (LME) is a futures and forwards exchange with the world's largest market in standarised forward contracts, futures contracts and options on base metals. The exchange also offers contracts on ferrous metals and precious ...
for about three years. ITC dissolved soon afterward, and the price of tin, now in a free-market environment, fell to $4 per pound and remained around that level through the 1990s. The price increased again by 2010 with a rebound in consumption following the 2007–2008 economic crisis, accompanying restocking and continued growth in consumption. London Metal Exchange (LME) is tin's principal trading site. Other tin contract markets are Kuala Lumpur Tin Market (KLTM) and Indonesia Tin Exchange (INATIN). Due to factors involved in the 2021 global supply chain crisis, tin prices almost doubled between 2020—21 and have had their largest annual rise in over 30 years. The International Tin Association estimated that global refined tin consumption will grow 7.2 percent in 2021, after losing 1.6 percent in 2020 as the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
disrupted global manufacturing industries.


Applications

In 2018, just under half of all tin produced was used in solder. The rest was divided between tin plating, tin chemicals, brass and bronze alloys, and niche uses.


Solder

Tin has long been used in alloys with lead as
solder Solder (; North American English, NA: ) is a fusible alloy, fusible metal alloy used to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces. Solder is melted in order to wet the parts of the joint, where it adheres to and connects the pieces afte ...
, in amounts of 5 to 70% w/w. Tin with lead forms a
eutectic mixture A eutectic system or eutectic mixture ( ) is a homogeneous mixture In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different chemical substances which are not chemically bonded. A mixture is the physical combination of two or mor ...
at the weight proportion of 61.9% tin and 38.1% lead (the atomic proportion: 73.9% tin and 26.1% lead), with melting temperature of 183 °C (361.4 °F). Such solders are primarily used for joining pipes or
electric circuit An electrical network is an interconnection of electronic component, electrical components (e.g., battery (electricity), batteries, resistors, inductors, capacitors, switches, transistors) or a model of such an interconnection, consisting of e ...
s. Since the European Union
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) is the European Community Directive 2012/19/EU on electronic waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which, together with the Restriction of Hazardous Subs ...
(WEEE Directive) and
Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS 1), short for Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, was adopted in February 2003 by the European Uni ...
came into effect on 1 July 2006, the lead content in such alloys has decreased. While lead exposure is associated with serious health problems, lead-free solder is not without its challenges, including a higher melting point, and the formation of
tin whiskers Metal whiskering is a phenomenon which occurs in electrical devices when metals form long whisker-like projections over time. Tin whiskers were noticed and documented in the vacuum tube era of electronics early in the 20th century in equipment th ...
that cause electrical problems.
Tin pest Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
can occur in lead-free solders, leading to loss of the soldered joint. Replacement alloys are being found, but the problems of joint integrity remain.


Tin plating

Tin bonds readily to
iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic table. It is, Abundance ...
and is used for coating
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
, zinc, and steel to prevent corrosion. Tin-plated (or tinning) steel containers is widely used for
food preservation Food preservation includes processes that make food more resistant to microorganism growth and slow the redox, oxidation of fats. This slows down the decomposition and rancidification process. Food preservation may also include processes that in ...
, and this forms a large part of the market for metallic tin. A tinplate canister for preserving food was first manufactured in London in 1812. Speakers of British English call such containers "tins", while speakers of American English call them " cans" or "tin cans". One derivation of such use is the slang term " tinnie" or "tinny", meaning "can of beer" in Australia. The tin whistle is so called because it was mass-produced first in tin-plated steel. Copper cooking vessels such as saucepans and frying pans are frequently lined with a thin plating of tin, by
electroplating Electroplating, also known as electrochemical deposition or electrodeposition, is a process for producing a metal coating on a solid substrate through the redox, reduction of cations of that metal by means of a direct current, direct electric cur ...
or by traditional chemical methods, since use of copper cookware with acidic foods can be toxic.


Specialized alloys

Tin in combination with other elements forms a wide variety of useful alloys. Tin is most commonly alloyed with copper.
Pewter Pewter () is a ductility, malleable metal alloy consisting of tin (85–99%), antimony (approximately 5–10%), copper (2%), bismuth, and sometimes silver. Copper and antimony (and in antiquity lead) act as hardeners, but lead may be used in lowe ...
is 85–99% tin; bearing metal has a high percentage of tin as well.
Bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
is mostly copper with 12% tin, while the addition of
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly Reactivity (chemistry), reactive, phosphor ...
yields phosphor bronze. Bell metal is also a copper–tin alloy, containing 22% tin. Tin has sometimes been used in coinage; it once formed a single-digit percentage (usually five percent or less) of American and Canadian pennies. Because copper is often the major metal in such coins, sometimes including zinc, these could be called bronze, or brass alloys. The
niobium Niobium is a chemical element with chemical symbol Nb (formerly columbium, Cb) and atomic number 41. It is a light grey, crystalline, and ductile transition metal. Pure niobium has a Mohs scale of mineral hardness, Mohs hardness rating similar ...
–tin compound Nb3Sn is commercially used in coils of
superconducting magnet A superconducting magnet is an electromagnet made from coils of superconducting wire. They must be cooled to cryogenic temperatures during operation. In its superconducting state the wire has no electrical resistance and therefore can conduct much ...
s for its high critical temperature (18 K) and critical magnetic field (25  T). A superconducting magnet weighing as little as two
kilogram The kilogram (also kilogramme) is the unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI), having the unit symbol kg. It is a widely used measure in science, engineering and commerce worldwide, and is often simply called a kilo colloquially. ...
s is capable of producing the magnetic field of a conventional
electromagnet An electromagnet is a type of magnet in which the magnetic field is produced by an electric current. Electromagnets usually consist of wire wound into a electromagnetic coil, coil. A current through the wire creates a magnetic field which i ...
weighing tons. A small percentage of tin is added to
zirconium alloy Zirconium alloys are solid solutions of zirconium or other metals, a common subgroup having the trade mark Zircaloy. Zirconium has very low absorption Nuclear cross section, cross-section of thermal neutrons, high hardness, ductility and corrosion ...
s for the cladding of nuclear fuel. Most metal pipes in a
pipe organ The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air (called ''wind'') through the organ pipes selected from a keyboard. Because each pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ''ranks' ...
are of a tin/lead alloy, with 50/50 as the most common composition. The proportion of tin in the pipe defines the pipe's tone, since tin has a desirable tonal resonance. When a tin/lead alloy cools, the lead phase solidifies first, then when the eutectic temperature is reached, the remaining liquid forms the layered tin/lead eutectic structure, which is shiny; contrast with the lead phase produces a mottled or spotted effect. This metal alloy is referred to as spotted metal. Major advantages of using tin for pipes include its appearance, workability, and resistance to corrosion.


Optoelectronics

The oxides of indium and tin are electrically conductive and transparent, and are used to make transparent electrically conducting films with applications in
optoelectronics Optoelectronics (or optronics) is the study and application of electronics, electronic devices and systems that find, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics. In this context, ''light'' often includes invisible form ...
devices such as
liquid crystal displays A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat-panel display or other electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals combined with polarizers. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly but ...
.


Other applications

Punched tin-plated steel, also called pierced tin, is an artisan technique originating in central Europe for creating functional and decorative housewares. Decorative piercing designs exist in a wide variety, based on local tradition and the artisan. Punched tin lanterns are the most common application of this artisan technique. The light of a candle shining through the pierced design creates a decorative light pattern in the room where it sits. Lanterns and other punched tin articles were created in the New World from the earliest European settlement. A well-known example is the Revere lantern, named after
Paul Revere Paul Revere (; December 21, 1734 Old Style, O.S. (January 1, 1735 New Style, N.S.)May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith, engraving, engraver, early industrialist, Sons of Liberty member, and Patriot (American Revolution), Patriot and Fo ...
. Before the modern era, in some areas of the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
, a goat or sheep's horn would be sharpened and a tin panel would be punched out using the alphabet and numbers from one to nine. This learning tool was known appropriately as "the horn". Modern reproductions are decorated with such motifs as hearts and tulips. In America, pie safes and food safes were in use in the days before refrigeration. These were wooden cupboards of various styles and sizes – either floor standing or hanging cupboards meant to discourage vermin and insects and to keep dust from perishable foodstuffs. These cabinets had tinplate inserts in the doors and sometimes in the sides, punched out by the homeowner, cabinetmaker, or a tinsmith in varying designs to allow for air circulation while excluding flies. Modern reproductions of these articles remain popular in North America. Window glass is most often made by floating molten
glass Glass is a non-Crystallinity, crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent, amorphous solid that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optics. Glass is most ...
on molten tin (
float glass Float glass is a sheet of glass made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, typically tin, although lead and other various low-melting point, melting-point alloys were used in the past. This method gives the sheet uniform thickness and ...
), resulting in a flat and flawless surface. This is also called the " Pilkington process". Tin is used as a negative electrode in advanced Li-ion batteries. Its application is somewhat limited by the fact that some tin surfaces catalyze decomposition of carbonate-based electrolytes used in Li-ion batteries. Tin(II) fluoride is added to some dental care products as
stannous fluoride Tin(II) fluoride, commonly referred to commercially as stannous fluoride (from Latin ', 'tin'), is a chemical compound with the formula SnF2. It is a colourless solid used as an ingredient in toothpastes. Oral health benefits Stannous fluoride wa ...
(SnF2). Tin(II) fluoride can be mixed with calcium abrasives while the more common
sodium fluoride Sodium fluoride (NaF) is an inorganic compound with the formula . It is used in trace amounts in the fluoridation of drinking water, in toothpaste, in metallurgy, and as a flux (metallurgy), flux. It is a colorless or white solid that is readily ...
gradually becomes biologically inactive in the presence of calcium compounds. It has also been shown to be more effective than
sodium fluoride Sodium fluoride (NaF) is an inorganic compound with the formula . It is used in trace amounts in the fluoridation of drinking water, in toothpaste, in metallurgy, and as a flux (metallurgy), flux. It is a colorless or white solid that is readily ...
in controlling
gingivitis Gingivitis is a non-destructive disease that causes inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a ...
. Tin is used as a target to create laser-induced plasmas that act as the light source for
extreme ultraviolet lithography Extreme ultraviolet lithography (also known as EUV or EUVL) is an optical lithography technology used in steppers, machines that make integrated circuits (ICs) for computers and other electronic devices. It uses a range of extreme ultraviolet ( ...
.


Organotin compounds

The organotin compounds are most heavily used. Worldwide industrial production probably exceeds 50,000
tonne The tonne ( or ; symbol: t) is a unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. It is a International System of Units#Non-SI units accepted for use with SI, non-SI unit accepted for use with SI. It is also referred to as a metric ton to disting ...
s.


PVC stabilizers

The major commercial application of organotin compounds is in the stabilization of PVC plastics. In the absence of such stabilizers, PVC would rapidly degrade under heat, light, and atmospheric oxygen, resulting in discolored, brittle products. Tin scavenges labile
chloride The chloride ion is the anion (negatively charged ion) Cl−. It is formed when the chemical element, element chlorine (a halogen) gains an electron or when a chemical compound, compound such as hydrogen chloride is dissolved in water or o ...
ions (Cl), which would otherwise strip HCl from the plastic material. Typical tin compounds are carboxylic acid derivatives of dibutyltin dichloride, such as the di laurate.


Biocides

Some organotin compounds are relatively toxic, with both advantages and problems. They are used for biocidal properties as
fungicide Fungicides are biocide, biocidal chemical compounds or biological organisms used to kill parasitism#Parasitic fungi, parasitic fungi or their spores. A fungistatic inhibits their growth. Fungi can cause serious damage in agriculture, resulting in ...
s,
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microbicide, fungicide, ...
s,
algaecide Algaecide or algicide is a biocide used for killing and preventing the growth of algae, often defined in a loose sense that, beyond the biological definition, also includes cyanobacteria ("blue-green algae"). An algaecide may be used for controlled ...
s,
wood preservative Wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tensio ...
s, and antifouling agents. Tributyltin oxide is used as a
wood preservative Wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tensio ...
. Tributyltin is also used for various industrial purposes such as slime control in paper mills and disinfection of circulating industrial cooling waters.
Tributyltin Tributyltin (TBT) is an umbrella term for a class of organotin compounds which contain the Butyl group, (C4H9)3Tin, Sn Moiety (chemistry), group, with a prominent example being tributyltin oxide. For 40 years TBT was used as a biocide in anti-fo ...
was used as additive for ship paint to prevent growth of fouling organisms on ships, with use declining after organotin compounds were recognized as
persistent organic pollutants Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), sometimes known as "forever chemicals", are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical decomposition, chemical, biodegradation, biological, and photolysis, photolytic ...
with high toxicity for some marine organisms (the dog whelk, for example). The EU banned the use of organotin compounds in 2003, while concerns over the toxicity of these compounds to marine life and damage to the reproduction and growth of some marine species (some reports describe biological effects to marine life at a concentration of 1
nanogram To help compare different Order of magnitude, orders of magnitude, the following lists describe various mass levels between 10−59 kilogram, kg and 1052 kg. The least massive thing listed here is a graviton, and the most massive thing ...
per liter) have led to a worldwide ban by the
International Maritime Organization The International Maritime Organization (IMO, French: ''Organisation maritime internationale'') is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating Ship transport, shipping. The IMO was established following agreement at ...
. Many nations now restrict the use of organotin compounds to vessels greater than long. The persistence of tributyltin in the aquatic environment is dependent upon the nature of the ecosystem. Because of this persistence and its use as an additive in ship paint, high concentrations of tributyltin have been found in marine sediments located near naval docks. Tributyltin has been used as a biomarker for imposex in neograstropods, with at least 82 known species. With the high levels of TBT in the local inshore areas, due to shipping activities, the shellfish had an adverse effect. Imposex is the imposition of male sexual characteristics on female specimens where they grow a penis and a pallial
vas deferens The vas deferens or ductus deferens is part of the male reproductive system of many vertebrates. The ducts transport sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts in anticipation of ejaculation. The vas deferens is a partially coiled tube w ...
. A high level of TBT can damage mammalian
endocrine glands Endocrine glands are ductless glands of the endocrine system that secrete their products, hormones, directly into the blood. The major glands of the endocrine system include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, Ovary, ovaries, Testicle, ...
,
reproductive The reproductive system of an organism, also known as the genital system, is the biological system made up of all the anatomical sex organs, organs involved in sexual reproduction. Many non-living substances such as fluids, hormones, and pherom ...
and
central nervous system The central nervous system (CNS) is the part of the nervous system consisting primarily of the brain and spinal cord. The CNS is so named because the brain integrates the received information and coordinates and influences the activity of all par ...
s, bone structure and
gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract, digestive tract, alimentary canal) is the tract or passageway of the digestive system that leads from the mouth to the anus. The GI tract contains all the major organ (biology), organs of the digestive syste ...
. Not only does tributyltin affect mammals, it affects sea otters, whales, dolphins, and humans.


Organic chemistry

Some tin
reagent In chemistry, a reagent ( ) or analytical reagent is a substance or compound added to a system to cause a chemical reaction, or test if one occurs. The terms ''reactant'' and ''reagent'' are often used interchangeably, but reactant specifies a ...
s are useful in
organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the science, scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds and organic materials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbon atoms.Clay ...
. In the largest application, stannous chloride is a common reducing agent for the conversion of
nitro Nitro may refer to: Chemistry *Nitrogen, a chemical element and a gas except at very low temperatures, with which many compounds are formed: **Nitro compound, an organic compound containing one or more nitro functional groups, -NO2 **Nitroalkene, ...
and
oxime In organic chemistry, an oxime is a organic compound belonging to the imines, with the general Chemical formula, formula , where R is an organic Side chain, side-chain and R’ may be hydrogen, forming an aldoxime, or another organic functional ...
groups to
amine In chemistry, amines (, ) are chemical compound, compounds and functional groups that contain a base (chemistry), basic nitrogen atom with a lone pair. Amines are formally derivative (chemistry), derivatives of ammonia (), wherein one or mo ...
s. The Stille reaction couples organotin compounds with organic
halide In chemistry, a halide (rarely halogenide) is a binary chemical compound, of which one part is a halogen atom Every atom is composed of a atomic nucleus, nucleus and one or more electrons bound to the nucleus. The nucleus is made of o ...
s or pseudohalides.


Li-ion batteries

Tin forms several inter-metallic phases with lithium metal, making it a potentially attractive material for battery applications. Large volumetric expansion of tin upon alloying with lithium and instability of the tin-organic electrolyte interface at low electrochemical potentials are the greatest challenges to employment in commercial cells. Tin inter-metallic compound with cobalt and carbon was implemented by
Sony , commonly stylized as SONY, is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. As a major technology company, it operates as one of the world's la ...
in its Nexelion cells released in the late 2000s. The composition of the active material is approximately Sn0.3Co0.4C0.3. Research showed that only some crystalline facets of tetragonal (beta) Sn are responsible for undesirable electrochemical activity.


Precautions

Cases of poisoning from tin metal, its oxides, and its salts are almost unknown. On the other hand, certain organotin compounds are almost as toxic as
cyanide Cyanide is a naturally occurring, rapidly acting, toxic chemical that can exist in many different forms. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers th ...
.Graf, G. G. (2000) "Tin, Tin Alloys, and Tin Compounds" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2005 Wiley-VCH, Weinheim Exposure to tin in the workplace can occur by inhalation, skin contact, and eye contact. The US
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Occupational Safety and Health Administration'' (OSHA ) is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is one of the United States federal executive departments, execu ...
(OSHA) set the
permissible exposure limit The permissible exposure limit (PEL or OSHA PEL) is a legal Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. ...
for tin exposure in the workplace as 2 mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday. The
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, ) is the List of United States federal agencies, United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related occ ...
(NIOSH) determined a
recommended exposure limit A recommended exposure limit (REL) is an occupational exposure limit that has been recommended by the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Co ...
(REL) of 2 mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday. At levels of 100 mg/m3, tin is immediately dangerous to life and health.


See also

* Cassiterides (the mythical Tin Islands) * List of countries by tin production *
Stannary A stannary was an administrative division established under stannary law in the English counties of Cornwall and Devon to manage the collection of tin coinage, which was the duty payable on the metal tin smelted from the ore cassiterite Mining i ...
* Terne *
Tin pest Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
* Tin mining in Britain *
Tinning Tinning is the process of thinly coating sheets of wrought iron or steel with tin, and the resulting product is known as tinplate. The term is also widely used for the different process of coating a metal with solder before soldering. It is most ...
*
Whisker (metallurgy) Metal whiskering is a phenomenon which occurs in electrical devices when metals form long whisker-like projections over time. Tin Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic numb ...
(tin whiskers)


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


External links


Tin
at ''
The Periodic Table of Videos ''Periodic Videos'' (also known as ''The Periodic Table of Videos'') is a video project and YouTube channel on chemistry. It consists of a series of videos about chemical elements and the periodic table, with additional videos on other topics i ...
'' (University of Nottingham)
Theodore Gray's Wooden Periodic Table Table
Tin samples and castings




Tin (USD cents per kg)
{{Authority control Chemical elements Post-transition metals Native element minerals Chemical elements with body-centered tetragonal structure