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Tin is a
chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements cannot be broken down into simp ...
with the
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...
Sn (from la, stannum) and
atomic number The atomic number or proton number (symbol ''Z'') of a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. ...
 50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. 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 Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure ...
” can be heard as a result of
twinning Twinning (making a twin of) may refer to: * In biology and agriculture, producing two offspring (i.e., twins) at a time, or having a tendency to do so; * Twin towns and sister cities, towns and cities involved in town twinning * Twinning institut ...
in tin crystals; this trait is shared by
indium Indium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

indium
,
cadmium Cadmium is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical eleme ...

cadmium
,
zinc Zinc is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical element ...

zinc
, and
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

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 an admixture of metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
s (such as
pewter Pewter () is a malleable Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet materia ...
) the metal solidifies with a dull gray color. Tin is a
post-transition metal The metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popu ...
in group 14 of the
periodic table of elements The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of (the) chemical elements, is a tabular display of the chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the ...

periodic table of elements
. 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 ...

mineral
cassiterite Cassiterite is a tin Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that al ...

cassiterite
, which contains stannic oxide, . 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 a lustrous, hard-brittle, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors silicon and tin. Pure germanium i ...

germanium
and
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
, and has two main
oxidation state The oxidation state, or oxidation number, is the hypothetical charge Charge or charged may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Charge, Zero Emissions/Maximum Speed'', a 2011 documentary Music * Charge (David Ford album), ''Charge ...
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 300px, The Rutherford–Bohr model of the hydrogen atom () or a hydrogen-like ion (). In this model it is an essential feature that the photon energy (or frequency) of ...
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 Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting o ...
: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white,
malleable Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically a ...

malleable
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 group 14 also adopt this structure, including α-tin, the se ...
structure. Metallic tin does not easily
oxidize (mild reducing agent) are added to powdered potassium permanganate (strong oxidizing agent), a violent redox reaction accompanied by self-ignition starts. Redox (reduction–oxidation, pronunciation: or ) is a type of chemical reaction in w ...

oxidize
in air and water. The first tin alloy used on a large scale was
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of 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 appear ...

bronze
, made of  tin and  
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
, from as early as 3000 BC. After 600 BC, pure metallic tin was produced.
Pewter Pewter () is a malleable Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet materia ...
, which is an alloy of 85–90% tin with the remainder commonly consisting of
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
,
antimony Antimony is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science t ...

antimony
,bismuth, and sometimes lead and silver, has been used for
flatware
flatware
since the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. In modern times, tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin / lead soft
solder Solder (, or in North America ) is a fusible metal alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polish ...

solder
s, which are typically 60% or more tin, and in the manufacture of transparent, electrically conducting films of
indium tin oxideIndium tin oxide (ITO) is a ternary composition Ternary (from Latin ''ternarius'') is an adjective meaning "composed of three 3 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 3, three, or III may also refer to: * AD 3, the third year of the AD era * 3 BC, th ...
in
optoelectronic Opto-electronics (or optronics) is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect and control light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that ...
applications. Another large application is
corrosion Corrosion is a natural process that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as oxide An oxide () is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecu ...

corrosion
-resistant tin plating of
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of 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 appe ...

steel
. 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 mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically a ...
,
ductile Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically a ...
and highly
crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformatio ...

crystal
line silvery-white
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

metal
. 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 Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure ...
" can be heard from the
twinning Twinning (making a twin of) may refer to: * In biology and agriculture, producing two offspring (i.e., twins) at a time, or having a tendency to do so; * Twin towns and sister cities, towns and cities involved in town twinning * Twinning institut ...
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 tensile testpieces A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress (physics), stress, it fracture Fracture is the separation of an object or material into two or more pieces under the action of stress. The fracture of a solid usually ...
. 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 group 14 also adopt this structure, including α-tin, the se ...
crystal structure In crystallography Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids (see crystal structure). The word "crystallography" is derived from the Greek language, Greek words ''crystallon'' "co ...

crystal structure
, similar to
diamond Diamond is a Allotropes of carbon, solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At Standard conditions for temperature and pressure, room temperature and pressure, another solid form of ...

diamond
,
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 lustre, and is a Tetravalence, tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member ...

silicon
or
germanium Germanium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard-brittle, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors silicon and tin. Pure germanium i ...

germanium
. α-tin has no metallic properties, because its atoms form a
covalent A covalent bond is a chemical bond A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and take ...

covalent
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 material has an electrical conductivity Electrical resistivity (also called specific electrical resistance or volume resistivity) is a fundamental property of a material that measures how strongly it resists electric curre ...
applications. γ-tin and σ-tin exist at temperatures above   and pressures above several
GPa The pascal (symbol: Pa) is the SI derived unit SI derived units are units of measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event ...
. In cold conditions β-tin tends to transform spontaneously into α-tin, a phenomenon known as "
tin pest Tin pest is an autocatalytic A single chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter ...
" or "tin disease". Some unverifiable sources also say that, during
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
'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 ''La Grande Armée'' (; French language, French for The Great Army) was the Field army, main military component of the French Imperial Army commanded by French Emperor Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1804 to 1809 ...
, 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 upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science t ...

antimony
or
bismuth Bismuth is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

bismuth
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 upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

bismuth
,
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 ...

gallium
,
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
,
thallium Thallium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

thallium
and
zinc Zinc is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical element ...

zinc
forming simple eutectic systems. Tin becomes a below 3.72  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 A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of spac ...

Meissner effect
, one of the characteristic features of superconductors, was first discovered in superconducting tin crystals.


Chemical

Tin resists corrosion from
water Water (chemical formula H2O) 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 li ...

water
, but can be corroded by
acid An acid is a or capable of donating a (hydrogen ion H+) (a ), or, alternatively, capable of forming a with an (a ). The first category of acids are the proton donors, or s. In the special case of , proton donors form the H3O+ and are ...
s and
alkali In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo dur ...

alkali
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 rate of a chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In cla ...

catalyst
triggering a chemical reaction of a solution containing
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
and helps to increase the speed of the chemical reaction that results.


Isotopes

Tin has ten
stable isotopes The term stable isotope has a meaning similar to stable nuclide, but is preferably used when speaking of nuclides of a specific element. Hence, the plural form stable isotopes usually refers to isotope Isotopes are variants of a particular c ...
, the
greatest number Greatest may refer to: * ''Greatest!'', a 1959 album by Johnny Cash * ''Bee Gees Greatest'', a 1979 album by Bee Gees * Greatest (The Go-Go's album), ''Greatest'' (The Go-Go's album), 1990 * Greatest (Duran Duran album), ''Greatest'' (Duran Duran a ...
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 s and s (together known as s) in an . It is approximately equal to the of the expre ...
s have no
nuclear spin In nuclear physics, atomic physics, and nuclear chemistry, the nuclear shell model is a nuclear model, model of the atomic nucleus which uses the Pauli exclusion principle to describe the structure of the nucleus in terms of energy levels. The f ...
, 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 technique to observe local magnetic fields around . The sample is placed in a magnetic field and the NMR signal is pr ...
which relies on molecular weight and its
chemical shift In nuclear magnetic resonance Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a physical phenomenon in which nuclei in a strong constant magnetic field are perturbed by a weak oscillating magnetic field (in the near and far field, near field) and respon ...
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 proton number (symbol ''Z'') of a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. ...
50, a " magic number" in nuclear physics. 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 ''t''1⁄2) is the time required for a quantity to reduce to half of its initial value. The term is commonly used in nuclear physics Nuclear physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies ...
of 230,000 years. 100Sn and 132Sn are two of the few
nuclide A nuclide (or nucleide, from nucleus ''Nucleus'' (plural nuclei) is a Latin word for the seed inside a fruit. It most often refers to: *Atomic nucleus, the very dense central region of an atom *Cell nucleus, a central organelle of a eukaryotic c ...

nuclide
s with a "" nucleus which despite being unstable, as they have very uneven
neutron–proton ratio The neutron–proton ratio (N/Z ratio or nuclear ratio) of an atomic nucleus is the ratio In mathematics, a ratio indicates how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, ...
s, 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 In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nu ...
. 116Sn through 120Sn are formed in the ''s''-process (slow neutron capture) in most
star A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma Plasma or plasm may refer to: Science * Plasma (physics), one of the four fundamental states of matter * Plasma (mineral) or heliotrope, a mineral aggregate * Quark ...

star
s which leads to them being the most common tin isotopes, while 122Sn and 124Sn are only formed in the (rapid neutron capture) in
supernovae (bright spot on the lower left), a type Ia supernova within its host galaxy, NGC 4526 A supernova ( plural: supernovae or supernovas, abbreviations: SN and SNe) is a powerful and luminous stellar explosion. This transient astronomical event occ ...

supernovae
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 p-nuclei (''p'' stands for proton A proton is a subatomic particle, symbol or , with a positive electric charge of +1''e'' elementary charge and a mass slightly less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutrons, each with masses of approximately ...
whose origins are not well understood. Some ideas about for their formation include proton capture and
photodisintegration Photodisintegration (also called phototransmutation, or a photonuclear reaction) is a nuclear process in which an atomic nucleus The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region consisting of s and s at the center of an , discovered in 1911 by ...
, 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 The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
and can be traced back to
reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
;
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
s include
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
,
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langua ...
and
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
. It is not found in other branches of
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
, except by borrowing from Germanic (e.g.,
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
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 spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
name originally meant an alloy of silver and lead, and came to mean 'tin' in the 4th 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 Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...
and
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...
terms for ''tin''. The origin of / is unknown; it may be pre-
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
. The suggests instead that came from
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...
, and is evidence that
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
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 In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
objects formed of
polymetallic In chemistry or mining, polymetal or polymetallic is a substance composed of a combination of different metals. When the substance contains only two metals the term ''bimetal'' (''bimetallic'') is sometimes preferred. A polymetallic ore (or ''polym ...
ores Ore is natural rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemica ...
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 ''cast ...

casting
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 Mold A mold () or mould () is a fungus A fungus (plural: fungi or funguses) is any member of the group of Eukaryote, eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and Mold (fungus), molds, as well as the more familiar ...
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 added to copper to make bronze. The use of arsenic with copper, either as the secondary constituent or with another component such as ...
objects appear first in the Near East where arsenic is commonly found with copper ore, but the 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 Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that al ...

Cassiterite
(), the oxide form of tin, was most likely the original source of tin. Other tin ores are less common
sulfide Sulfide (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage a ...

sulfide
s such as that require a more involved
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order 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 ...
process. Cassiterite often accumulates in
alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
channels as
placer deposits Placer may refer to one of the following: *Placer deposit *Placer sheep *Placer mining *Placer (geography), a submerged bank or reef. *List of rugby league terms#placer, Placer, rugby league football role. *Bottle oven#Description, Placer, a job ti ...
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 ...

granite
. Cassiterite is usually black or dark in color, and these deposits can be easily seen in
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. Alluvial ( placer) deposits may incidentally have been collected and separated by methods similar to
gold panning Gold is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numb ...
.


Compounds and chemistry

In the great majority of its compounds, tin has the oxidation state II or IV.


Inorganic compounds

Halide A halide is a binary phase, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an chemical element, element or radical (chemistry), radical that is less electronegative (or more electropositive) than the halogen, to make a, e.g., fluoride, ...
compounds are known for both oxidation states. For Sn(IV), all four halides are well known: SnF4, Tin(IV) chloride, SnCl4, Tin(IV) bromide, SnBr4, and Tin(IV) iodide, SnI4. The three heavier members are volatile molecular compounds, whereas the tetrafluoride is polymeric. All four halides are known for Sn(II) also: Tin(II) fluoride, SnF2, Tin(II) chloride, , Tin(II) bromide, SnBr2, and Tin(II) iodide, SnI2. All are polymeric solids. Of these eight compounds, only the iodides are colored. Tin(II) chloride (also known as stannous chloride) is the most important commercial tin halide. Illustrating the routes to such compounds, chlorine 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. is amphoteric, 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 (mosaic gold).


Hydrides

Stannane (), with tin in the +4 oxidation state, is unstable. Organotin hydrides are however well known, e.g. tributyltin hydride (Sn(C4H9)3H). These compound release transient Tributyltin, tributyl tin radicals, which are rare examples of compounds of tin(III).


Organotin compounds

Organotin compounds, sometimes called stannanes, are chemical compounds 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 biocides. The first organotin compound to be reported was diethyltin diiodide ((C2H5)2SnI2), reported by Edward Frankland 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 reagents: : + 4 RMgBr → + 4 MgBrCl The mixed halide-alkyls, which are more common and more important commercially than the tetraorgano derivatives, are prepared by redistribution reactions: : + → 2 R2 Divalent organotin compounds are uncommon, although more common than related divalent organogermanium and organosilicon compounds. The greater stabilization enjoyed by Sn(II) is attributed to the "inert pair effect". Organotin(II) compounds include both stannylenes (formula: R2Sn, as seen for singlet carbenes) and distannylenes (R4Sn2), which are roughly equivalent to alkenes. 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), and finally by beta decay of the heavy isotopes of
indium Indium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that c ...

indium
. Tin is the 49th most abundant element in Earth's crust, representing 2 part per million, 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 Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that al ...

Cassiterite
() is the only commercially important source of tin, although small quantities of tin are recovered from complex
sulfide Sulfide (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage a ...

sulfide
s such as , 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 ...

granite
rock, usually at a level of 1% tin oxide content. Because of the higher specific gravity 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, Hydraulic mining, hydraulicking, or open cast mining, open pits. Most of the world's tin is produced from placer mining, 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 R. Brown, Lester Brown 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, and in 2009, new deposits of tin were discovered in Colombia.


Production

Tin is produced by carbothermic reduction of the oxide ore with carbon or coke. Both reverberatory furnace and Electric arc furnace, 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 Early 1980s recession, 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 for about three years. 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 Financial crisis of 2007–2008, 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 INATIN, 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 disrupted global manufacturing industries. The price per kg over years:


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 (, or in North America ) is a fusible metal alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polish ...

solder
, in amounts of 5 to 70% w/w. Tin with lead forms a eutectic system, eutectic mixture 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 plumbing, pipes or electric circuits. Since the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive came into effect on 1 July 2006, the lead content in such alloys has decreased. While lead exposure is associated with Lead poisoning, serious health problems, lead-free solder is not without its challenges, including a higher melting point, and the formation of Whisker (metallurgy), tin whiskers that cause electrical problems. Tin pest 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 and is used for coating
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
, zinc, and steel to prevent corrosion. Tin plating, Tin-plated steel containers are widely used for food preservation, 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 them "tins", while speakers of American English call them "tin cans, 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 Kalai (process), lined with a thin plating of tin, since the combination of acidic foods with copper 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 malleable Ductility is a mechanical property commonly described as a material's amenability to drawing Drawing is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper Paper is a thin sheet materia ...
is 85–99% tin; Babbitt metal, bearing metal has a high percentage of tin as well. Bronze is mostly copper with 12% tin, while the addition of phosphorus 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–tin compound Niobium–tin, Nb3Sn is commercially used in Electromagnetic coil, coils of superconducting magnets for its high critical temperature#In Superconductivity, critical temperature (18 K) and critical magnetic field (25 Tesla (unit), T). A superconducting magnet weighing as little as two kilograms is capable of producing the magnetic field of a conventional electromagnet weighing tons. A small percentage of tin is added to zirconium alloys for the cladding of nuclear fuel. Most metal pipes in a pipe organ 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 Indium tin oxide, oxides of indium and tin are electrically conductive and transparent, and are used to make transparent electrically conducting films with applications in optoelectronics devices such as liquid crystal displays.


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. Before the modern era, in some areas of the Alps, 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 on molten tin (float glass), resulting in a flat and flawless surface. This is also called the "Pilkington process". Tin is used as a negative electrode in advanced Lithium-ion battery, 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 (SnF2). Tin(II) fluoride can be mixed with calcium abrasives while the more common sodium fluoride gradually becomes biologically inactive in the presence of calcium compounds. It has also been shown to be more effective than sodium fluoride in controlling gingivitis. Tin is used as a target to create laser-induced Plasma (physics), plasmas that act as the light source for extreme ultraviolet lithography.


Organotin compounds

The organotin compounds are most heavily used. Worldwide industrial production probably exceeds 50,000 tonnes.


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 ions (Cl), which would otherwise strip HCl from the plastic material. Typical tin compounds are carboxylic acid derivatives of dibutyltin dichloride, such as the dilaurate.


Biocides

Some organotin compounds are relatively toxic, with both advantages and problems. They are used for biocide, biocidal properties as fungicides, pesticides, algaecides, wood preservatives, and antifouling agents. Tributyltin oxide is used as a wood preservative. Tributyltin is also used for various industrial purposes such as slime control in paper mills and disinfection of circulating industrial cooling waters. Tributyltin was used as additive for ship paint to prevent growth of Marine organisms, fouling organisms on ships, with use declining after organotin compounds were recognized as persistent organic pollutants 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 per liter) have led to a worldwide ban by the International Maritime Organization. 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 Neogastropoda, 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. A high level of TBT can damage mammalian endocrine glands, Reproductive system, reproductive and central nervous systems, bone structure and gastrointestinal tract. Not only does tributyltin affect mammals, it affects sea otters, whales, dolphins, and humans.


Organic chemistry

Some tin reagents are useful in organic chemistry. In the largest application, stannous chloride is a common reducing agent for the conversion of nitro compound, nitro and oxime groups to amines. The Stille reaction couples organotin compounds with organic halides or pseudohalogen, 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. The problem was partially solved by Sony. Tin inter-metallic compound with cobalt and carbon was implemented by Sony 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.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 (OSHA) set the permissible exposure limit for tin exposure in the workplace as 2 mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined a recommended exposure limit (REL) of 2 mg/m3 over an 8-hour workday. At levels of 100 mg/m3, tin is IDLH, immediately dangerous to life and health.


See also

* Cassiterides (the mythical Tin Islands) * List of countries by tin production * Stannary * Terne * Tin pest * Tin mining in Britain * Tinning * Whisker (metallurgy) (tin whiskers)


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


External links


Tin
at ''The Periodic Table of Videos'' (University of Nottingham)
Theodore Gray's Wooden Periodic Table Table
Tin samples and castings




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