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definitions - tin

tin (v. trans.)

1.prepare (a metal) for soldering or brazing by applying a thin layer of solder to the surface

2.plate with tin

3.(British)preserve in a can or tin"tinned foods are not very tasty"

tin (n.)

1.a silvery malleable metallic element that resists corrosion; used in many alloys and to coat other metals to prevent corrosion; obtained chiefly from cassiterite where it occurs as tin oxide

2.container into which liquid is poured to create a given shape when it hardens

3.airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.

4.metal container for storing dry foods such as tea or flour

5.any of various alloys of tin with small amounts of other metals (especially lead)

6.a vessel (box, can, pan, etc.) made of tinplate and used mainly in baking

tin (v.)

1.coat with a layer of metal"plate spoons with silver"

Tin (n.)

1.(MeSH)A trace element that is required in bone formation. It has the atomic symbol Sn, atomic number 50, and atomic weight 118.71.

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Merriam Webster

TinTin (?), n. [As. tin; akin to D. tin, G. zinn, OHG. zin, Icel. & Dan. tin, Sw. tenn; of unknown origin.]
1. (Chem.) An elementary substance found as an oxide in the mineral cassiterite, and reduced as a soft silvery-white crystalline metal, with a tinge of yellowish-blue, and a high luster. It is malleable at ordinary temperatures, but brittle when heated. It is softer than gold and can be beaten out into very thin strips called tinfoil. It is ductile at 2120, when it can be drawn out into wire which is not very tenacious; it melts at 4420, and at a higher temperature burns with a brilliant white light. Air and moisture act on tin very slightly. The peculiar properties of tin, especially its malleability, its brilliancy and the slowness with which it rusts make it very serviceable. With other metals it forms valuable alloys, as bronze, gun metal, bell metal, pewter and solder. It is not easily oxidized in the air, and is used chiefly to coat iron to protect it from rusting, in the form of tin foil with mercury to form the reflective surface of mirrors, and in solder, bronze, speculum metal, and other alloys. Its compounds are designated as stannous, or stannic. Symbol Sn (Stannum). Atomic weight 117.4.

2. Thin plates of iron covered with tin; tin plate.

3. Money. [Cant] Beaconsfield.

Block tin (Metal.), commercial tin, cast into blocks, and partially refined, but containing small quantities of various impurities, as copper, lead, iron, arsenic, etc.; solid tin as distinguished from tin plate; -- called also bar tin. -- Butter of tin. (Old Chem.) See Fuming liquor of Libavius, under Fuming. -- Grain tin. (Metal.) See under Grain. -- Salt of tin (Dyeing), stannous chloride, especially so called when used as a mordant. -- Stream tin. See under Stream. -- Tin cry (Chem.), the peculiar creaking noise made when a bar of tin is bent. It is produced by the grating of the crystal granules on each other. -- Tin foil, tin reduced to a thin leaf. -- Tin frame (Mining), a kind of buddle used in washing tin ore. -- Tin liquor, Tin mordant (Dyeing), stannous chloride, used as a mordant in dyeing and calico printing. -- Tin penny, a customary duty in England, formerly paid to tithingmen for liberty to dig in tin mines. [Obs.] Bailey. -- Tin plate, thin sheet iron coated with tin. -- Tin pyrites. See Stannite.

TinTin (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Tinned (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Tinning.] To cover with tin or tinned iron, or to overlay with tin foil.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - tin

Tin (n.) (MeSH)

Stannum  (MeSH)

tin (n.) (British)

can, small case

tin (v.)


tin (v. trans.) (British)

bottle, conserve, cure, preserve, put up, can  (American)

see also - tin


-Colgate Brand of Tin Difluoride • Ditiocarb, Tin(4+) Salt • Gel-Tin • McGloin Brand of Tin Difluoride • Omnii Brand 1 of Tin Difluoride • Omnii Brand 2 of Tin Difluoride • Ortho Brand of Tin Difluoride • Palisades Brand of Tin Difluoride • Tin Compounds • Tin Difluoride • Tin Fluorides • Tin Pan Alley • Tin Polyphosphates • Tin Pyrophosphates • Tin Radioisotopes • Tin Tetrafluoride • Tin and its compounds • Young Dental Brand of Tin Difluoride • alpha-Linolenic Acid, Tin(2+) Salt • baking tin • biscuit tin • bread tin • butter of tin • cake tin • copper-tin-phosphorous • leaded tin bronze • loaf tin • made of tin • of tin • roasting tin • tin bronze • tin can • tin disease • tin disulfide • tin ear • tin foil • tin hat • tin opener • tin ore • tin pest • tin plague • tin plate • tin pyrites • tin spar • tin stone • tin tack • tin tetrachloride • tin whistle • tin-can lid • tin-opener • tin-plate • tin-plating • tin-pot

-Big and Little Wong Tin Bar • Black tin • Bou Tin • Bui Tin • Butter of tin • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (film) • Chao Hick Tin • Christopher Tin • Cigarette tin • City One, Sha Tin • Dai Seik Tin • Farm tin • Flowers of tin • Geevor Tin Mine • Harvey Kong Tin • Ho Mun Tin • Hristougenna Me Tin Katy • Hteik Tin • Indium tin oxide • International Tin Council • Isotopes of tin • Kam Tin • Kam Tin Road • Kiss Me (Tin Tin song) • Kwong Tin Estate • Lam Tin • Lam Tin Estate • Life in a Tin Can • Little Tin God (disambiguation) • Louis Koo Tin Lok • Louis Koo Tin-Lok • Lung Kong Tin Yee Association • Mou Tin Ha • Mount Wellington Tin Mine • Muffin tin • Nam Tin Building • Niobium-tin • Old Tin Sorrows • PAL-TIN • Pio Poli Tin Kiriaki • Prisoner of Love (Tin Machine song) • Quang Tin • Quang Tin Province • Quang Tin province • Ras el-Tin Palace • Rin Tin Tin • Rin Tin Tin, Jr. • San Tin • San Tin Highway • Saša, Tin i Kedžo • Sha Tin • Sha Tin Airfield • Sha Tin City One • Sha Tin District • Sha Tin Heights Tunnel • Sha Tin Hospital • Sha Tin Methodist Collage • Sha Tin New Town • Sha Tin Park • Sha Tin Pass • Sha Tin Public Library • Sha Tin Public School • Sha Tin Racecourse • Sha Tin Sports Ground • Sha Tin, Hong Kong • St Paul's School (Lam Tin) • St. Paul's School (Lam Tin) • The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors • The Solid Tin Coyote • The Steadfast Tin Soldier • The Tin Angel • The Tin Drum • The Tin Drum (film) • The Tin Flute • The Tin Man (horse) • The Tin Man (novel) • The Tin Men • The Tin Mine • The Tin Princess • The Tin Star • The Tin Wood Man • The Tin Wood man • The Tin Woodman of Oz • The Tin Woods Man • The Tin Woods man • The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman • Tin (newsreader) • Tin Animal Money • Tin Atanal • Tin Bider crater • Tin Can (basketball arena) • Tin Can Alley • Tin Can Bay, Queensland • Tin Can Sailors • Tin Cans with Strings to You • Tin Chiu Street • Tin City • Tin Cup • Tin Dog Creek • Tin Duties Act 1838 • Tin Foil Phoenix • Tin Goyenda • Tin Ha • Tin Hau (Hong Kong) • Tin Hau (disambiguation) • Tin Hau Temple Road • Tin Hau, Hong Kong • Tin Hlaing • Tin House • Tin Huey • Tin Lids • Tin Machine (album) • Tin Machine (song) • Tin Machine II • Tin Man • Tin Man (Oz) • Tin Man (TV miniseries) • Tin Man (song) • Tin Men • Tin Mine Falls • Tin Moe • Tin Omen (band) • Tin Omen (song) • Tin Oo • Tin Pan Alley • Tin Pan Alley Cats • Tin Plate Workers Company • Tin Pot Operation • Tin Samardžić • Tin Shui Wai • Tin Shui Wai (KCRC) • Tin Shui Wai New Town • Tin Soldier (song) • Tin Star (band) • Tin Star (video game) • Tin Tin Daily • Tin Tin Daily News • Tin Tin Out • Tin Tin's • Tin Tins • Tin Town • Tin Town, Missouri • Tin Toy • Tin Tun • Tin Type • Tin Ujevic • Tin Wood Man • Tin Wood-Man • Tin Woodman • Tin Woodmen • Tin Woods Man • Tin Woodsman • Tin Woodsmen • Tin Yin Leun • Tin bounds • Tin can • Tin can wall • Tin ceiling • Tin chloride • Tin coinage • Tin dioxide • Tin foil • Tin foil hat • Tin ingot • Tin iodide • Tin oxide • Tin pest • Tin plating • Tin roof pie • Tin selenide • Tin tabernacle • Tin telluride • Tin tetrahydride • Tin whistle • Tin(II) bromide • Tin(II) chloride • Tin(II) chloride (data page) • Tin(II) fluoride • Tin(II) hydroxide • Tin(II) iodide • Tin(II) oxide • Tin(II) sulfate • Tin(IV) iodide • Tin(IV) sulfide • Tin-121m • Tin-126 • Tin-Can Tommy • Tin-glazed pottery • Tin-glazing • Tin-plate • Tin-plating • Toll tin • Towd tin pot • Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Yau Tze Tin Memorial college • White tin • Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers • Yuen Long Tin Shui Wai Democratic Alliance

analogical dictionary


Metals - Elements[Hyper.]

Tin (n.) [MeSH]

tin (n.)



alloy, metal[Hyper.]

tin (n.)






container - sheet metal[Hyper.]



tinplate, tin plate[Element]

tin (n.)

Wikipedia - see also





silvery (left, beta) or gray (right, alpha)
General properties
Name, symbol, number tin, Sn, 50
Pronunciation /ˈtɪn/
Element category post-transition metal
Group, period, block 145, p
Standard atomic weight 118.710
Electron configuration [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 18, 4 (Image)
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density (near r.t.) (white) 7.365 g·cm−3
Density (near r.t.) (gray) 5.769 g·cm−3
Liquid density at m.p. 6.99 g·cm−3
Melting point 505.08 K, 231.93 °C, 449.47 °F
Boiling point 2875 K, 2602 °C, 4716 °F
Heat of fusion (white) 7.03 kJ·mol−1
Heat of vaporization (white) 296.1 kJ·mol−1
Molar heat capacity (white) 27.112 J·mol−1·K−1
Vapor pressure
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 1497 1657 1855 2107 2438 2893
Atomic properties
Oxidation states 4, 2, -4 (amphoteric oxide)
Electronegativity 1.96 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: 708.6 kJ·mol−1
2nd: 1411.8 kJ·mol−1
3rd: 2943.0 kJ·mol−1
Atomic radius 140 pm
Covalent radius 139±4 pm
Van der Waals radius 217 pm
Crystal structure note Tetragonal (white), diamond cubic (gray)
Magnetic ordering (gray) diamagnetic[1], (white) paramagnetic
Electrical resistivity (0 °C) 115 nΩ·m
Thermal conductivity 66.8 W·m−1·K−1
Thermal expansion (25 °C) 22.0 µm·m−1·K−1
Speed of sound (thin rod) (r.t.) (rolled)
2730 m·s−1
Young's modulus 50 GPa
Shear modulus 18 GPa
Bulk modulus 58 GPa
Poisson ratio 0.36
Mohs hardness 1.5
Brinell hardness ~350 MPa
CAS registry number 7440-31-5
Most stable isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of tin
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
112Sn 0.97% 112Sn is stable with 62 neutrons
114Sn 0.66% 114Sn is stable with 64 neutrons
115Sn 0.34% 115Sn is stable with 65 neutrons
116Sn 14.54% 116Sn is stable with 66 neutrons
117Sn 7.68% 117Sn is stable with 67 neutrons
118Sn 24.22% 118Sn is stable with 68 neutrons
119Sn 8.59% 119Sn is stable with 69 neutrons
120Sn 32.58% 120Sn is stable with 70 neutrons
122Sn 4.63% 122Sn is stable with 72 neutrons
124Sn 5.79% 124Sn is stable with 74 neutrons
126Sn trace 2.3×105 y β 0.380 126Sb
· r

Tin (play /ˈtɪn/ TIN) is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (for Latin: stannum) and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4. Tin is the 49th most abundant element and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table. Tin is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, where it occurs as tin dioxide, SnO2.

This silvery, malleable post-transition metal is not easily oxidized in air and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion. The first alloy, used in large scale since 3000 BC, was bronze, an alloy of tin and copper. After 600 BC pure metallic tin was produced. Pewter, which is an alloy of 85–90% tin with the remainder commonly consisting of copper, antimony and lead, was used for flatware from the Bronze Age until the 20th century. In modern times tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin/lead soft solders, typically containing 60% or more of tin. Another large application for tin is corrosion-resistant tin plating of steel. Because of its low toxicity, tin-plated metal is also used for food packaging, giving the name to tin cans, which are made mostly of steel.



  Physical properties

  Droplet of molten tin

Tin is a malleable, ductile and highly crystalline silvery-white metal. When a bar of tin is bent, a crackling sound known as the tin cry can be heard due to the twinning of the crystals.[2] Tin melts at a low temperature of about 232 °C, which is further reduced to 177.3 °C for 11-nm particles.[3]

β-tin (the metallic form, or white tin), which is stable at and above room temperature, is malleable. In contrast, α-tin (nonmetallic form, or gray tin), which is stable below 13.2 °C, is brittle. α-tin has a diamond cubic crystal structure, similar to diamond, silicon or germanium. α-tin has no metallic properties at all because its atoms form a covalent structure where electrons cannot move freely. It is a dull-gray powdery material with no common uses, other than a few specialized semiconductor applications.[2] These two allotropes, α-tin and β-tin, are more commonly known as gray tin and white tin, respectively. Two more allotropes, γ and σ, exist at temperatures above 161 °C and pressures above several GPa.[4] Although the α-β transformation temperature is nominally 13.2 °C, impurities (e.g. Al, Zn, etc.) lower the transition temperature well below 0 °C, and upon addition of Sb or Bi the transformation may not occur at all, increasing the durability of the tin.[5][6]

Commercial grades of tin (99.8%) resist transformation because of the inhibiting effect of the small amounts of bismuth, antimony, lead and silver present as impurities. Alloying elements such as copper, antimony, bismuth, cadmium and silver increase its hardness. Tin tends rather easily to form hard, brittle intermetallic phases, which are often undesirable. It does not form wide solid solution ranges in other metals in general, and there are few elements that have appreciable solid solubility in tin. Simple eutectic systems, however, occur with bismuth, gallium, lead, thallium and zinc.[5]

Tin becomes a superconductor below 3.72 K.[7] In fact, tin was one of the first superconductors to be studied; the Meissner effect, one of the characteristic features of superconductors, was first discovered in superconducting tin crystals.[8]

  Chemical properties

Tin resists corrosion from water but can be attacked by acids and alkalis. Tin can be highly polished and is used as a protective coat for other metals.[2] In this case the formation of a protective oxide layer is used to prevent further oxidation. This oxide layer forms on pewter and other tin alloys.[9] Tin acts as a catalyst when oxygen is in solution and helps accelerate chemical attack.[2]


Tin is the element with the greatest number of stable isotopes, ten; these include all those with atomic masses between 112 and 124, with the exception of 113, 121 and 123. Of these, the most abundant ones are 120Sn (at almost a third of all tin), 118Sn, and 116Sn, while the least abundant one is 115Sn. The isotopes possessing even mass numbers have no nuclear spin while the odd ones have a spin of +1/2. Tin, with its three common isotopes 115Sn, 117Sn and 119Sn, is among the easiest elements to detect and analyze by NMR spectroscopy, and its chemical shifts are referenced against SnMe4.[note 1][10]

This large number of stable isotopes is thought to be a direct result of tin possessing an atomic number of 50, which is a "magic number" in nuclear physics. There are 28 additional unstable isotopes that are known, encompassing all the remaining ones with atomic masses between 99 and 137. Aside from 126Sn, which has a half-life of 230,000 years, all the radioactive isotopes have a half-life of less than a year. The radioactive 100Sn is one of the few nuclides possessing a "doubly magic" nucleus and was discovered relatively recently, in 1994.[11] Another 30 metastable isomers have been characterized for isotopes between 111 and 131, the most stable of which being 121mSn, with a half-life of 43.9 years.


The English word 'tin' is Germanic; related words are found in the other Germanic languages—German zinn, Swedish tenn, Dutch tin, etc.—but not in other branches of Indo-European except by borrowing (e.g. Irish tinne). Its origin is unknown.[12]

The Latin name stannum originally meant an alloy of silver and lead, and came to mean 'tin' in the 4th century BCE[13]—the earlier Latin word for it was plumbum candidum 'white lead'. Stannum apparently came from an earlier stāgnum (meaning the same thing),[12] the origin of the Romance and Celtic terms for 'tin'.[12][14] The origin of stannum/stāgnum is unknown; it may be pre-Indo-European.[15] The Meyers Konversationslexikon speculates on the contrary that stannum is derived from Cornish stean, and is proof that Cornwall in the first centuries AD was the main source of tin.


  Ceremonial giant bronze dirk of the Plougrescant-Ommerschans type, Plougrescant, France, 1500–1300 BC.

Tin extraction and use can be dated to the beginnings of the Bronze Age around 3000 BC, when it was observed that copper objects formed of polymetallic ores with different metal contents had different physical properties.[16] The earliest bronze objects had tin or arsenic content of less than 2% and are therefore believed to be the result of unintentional alloying due to trace metal content in the copper ore.[17] The addition of a second metal to copper increases its hardness, lowers the melting temperature, and improves the casting process by producing a more fluid melt that cools to a denser, less spongy metal.[17] This was an important innovation that allowed for the much more complex shapes cast in closed moulds of the Bronze Age. Arsenical bronze objects appear first in the Near East where arsenic is commonly found in association 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.[18] 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.[citation needed]

Cassiterite (SnO2), the tin oxide form of tin, was most likely the original source of tin in ancient times. Other forms of tin ores are less abundant sulfides such as stannite that require a more involved smelting process. Cassiterite often accumulates in alluvial channels as placer deposits due to the fact that it is harder, heavier, and more chemically resistant than the granite in which it typically forms.[19] These deposits can be easily seen in river banks as cassiterite is usually black, purple or otherwise dark in colour, a feature exploited by early Bronze Age prospectors. It is likely that the earliest deposits were alluvial in nature, and perhaps exploited by the same methods used for panning gold in placer deposits.[citation needed]

  Compounds and chemistry

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

  Inorganic compounds

Halide 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, SnCl2, SnBr2, and SnI2. All are polymeric solids. Of these eight compounds, only the iodides are coloured.[20]

Tin(II) chloride (also known as stannous chloride) is the most important tin halide in a commercial sense. Illustrating the routes to such compounds, chlorine reacts with tin metal to give SnCl4 whereas the reaction of hydrochloric acid and tin gives SnCl2 and hydrogen gas. Alternatively SnCl4 and Sn combine to stannous chloride via a process called comproportionation:[21]

SnCl4 + Sn → 2 SnCl2

Tin can form many oxides, sulfides, and other chalcogenide derivatives. The dioxide SnO2 (cassiterite) forms when tin is heated in the presence of air.[20] SnO2 is amphoteric, which means that it dissolves in both acidic and basic solutions.[22] There are also stannates with the structure [Sn(OH)6]2−, like K2[Sn(OH)6], although the free stannic acid H2[Sn(OH)6] is unknown. The sulfides of tin exist in both the +2 and +4 oxidation states: tin(II) sulfide and tin(IV) sulfide (mosaic gold).

  Ball-and-stick models of the structure of solid stannous chloride (SnCl2).[23]


Stannane (SnH4), where tin is in the +4 oxidation state, is unstable. Organotin hydrides are however well known, e.g. tributyltin hydride (Sn(C4H9)3H).[2] These compound release transient tributyl tin radicals, rare examples of compounds of tin(III).[24]

  Organotin compounds

Organotin compounds, sometimes called stannanes, are chemical compounds with tin-carbon bonds.[25] Of the compounds of tin, the organic derivatives are the most useful commercially.[26] 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.[27]

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:[26]

SnCl4 + 4 RMgBr → R4Sn + 4 MgBrCl

The mixed halide-alkyls, which are more common and more important commercially than the tetraorgano derivatives, are prepared by redistribution reactions:

SnCl4 + R4Sn → 2 SnCl2R2

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.[28]


  Sample of cassiterite, the main ore of tin.
  Map showing tin output in 2005.
  Granular pieces of cassiterite, which are collected by placer mining

Tin is generated via the long S-process in low-medium mass stars (with masses of 0.6 to 10 times that of Sun). It arises via beta decay of heavy isotopes of indium.[29]

Tin is the 49th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, representing 2 ppm compared with 75 ppm for zinc, 50 ppm for copper, and 14 ppm for lead.[30]

Tin does not occur as the native element but must be extracted from various ores. Cassiterite (SnO2) is the only commercially important source of tin, although small quantities of tin are recovered from complex sulfides such as stannite, cylindrite, franckeite, canfieldite, and teallite. Minerals with tin are almost always associated with granite rock, usually at a level of 1% tin oxide content.[31]

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 under sea. The most economical ways of mining tin are through dredging, hydraulic methods or open cast mining. Most of the world's tin is produced from placer deposits, which may contain as little as 0.015% tin.[32]

It was estimated in January 2008 that there were 6.1 million tons of economically recoverable primary reserves, from a known base reserve of 11 million tons.[33] Below are listed the nations with the largest known reserves.

World tin mine reserves and reserve base in tons[33]
Country Reserves Reserve base
 China 1,700,000 3,500,000
 Malaysia 1,000,000 1,200,000
 Peru 710,000 1,000,000
 Indonesia 800,000 900,000
 Brazil 540,000 2,500,000
 Bolivia 450,000 900,000
 Russia 300,000 350,000
 Thailand 170,000 250,000
 Australia 150,000 300,000
  Other 180,000 200,000
  Total 6,000,000 11,100,000

Estimates of tin production have historically varied with the dynamics of economic feasibility and the development of mining technologies, but it is estimated that, at current consumption rates and technologies, the Earth will run out of tin that can be mined in 40 years.[34] However Lester Brown has suggested tin could run out within 20 years based on an extremely conservative extrapolation of 2% growth per year.[35]

Economically recoverable tin reserves[31]
Year Million tons
1965 4,265
1970 3,930
1975 9,060
1980 9,100
1985 3,060
1990 7,100
2008 6,100[36]

Secondary, or scrap, tin is also an important source of the metal. The recovery of tin through secondary production, or recycling of scrap tin, is increasing rapidly. Whereas the United States has neither mined since 1993 nor smelted tin since 1989, it was the largest secondary producer, recycling nearly 14,000 tons in 2006.[33]

New deposits are reported to be in southern Mongolia,[37] and in 2009, new deposits of tin were discovered in Colombia, South America, by the Seminole Group Colombia CI, SAS.[38][39]


Tin is produced by carbothermic reduction of the oxide ore with carbon or coke. Both reverberatory furnace and electric furnace can be used.[40][41][42]

  Mining and smelting


The ten largest companies produced most of world's tin in 2007. It is not clear which of these companies include tin smelted from the mine at Bisie, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is controlled by a renegade militia and produces 15,000 tons. Most of the world's tin is traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME), from 8 countries, under 17 brands.[43]

Largest tin mining companies by production in tons[44]
Company Polity 2006 2007 %Change
Yunnan Tin China 52,339 61,129 16.7
PT Timah Indonesia 44,689 58,325 30.5
Minsur Peru 40,977 35,940 −12.3
Malay China 52,339 61,129 16.7
Malaysia Smelting Corp Malaysia 22,850 25,471 11.5
Thaisarco Thailand 27,828 19,826 −28.8
Yunnan Chengfeng China 21,765 18,000 −17.8
Liuzhou China Tin China 13,499 13,193 −2.3
EM Vinto Bolivia 11,804 9,448 −20.0
Gold Bell Group China 4,696 8,000 70.9

Prices of tin were at US$11,900 per ton as of Nov 24, 2008. Prices reached an all-time high of nearly $25,000 per ton in May 2008, largely because of the effect of the decrease of tin production from Indonesia.



  World consumption of refined tin by end use, 2006

In 2006, about half of tin produced was used in solder. The rest was divided between tin plating, tin chemicals, brass and bronze, and niche uses.[46]


  A coil of lead-free solder wire

Tin has long been used as a solder in the form of an alloy with lead, tin accounting for 5 to 70% w/w. Tin forms a eutectic mixture with lead containing 63% tin and 37% lead. Such solders are primarily used for solders for joining pipes or electric circuits. Since the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) came into effect on 1 July 2006, the use of lead in such alloys has decreased. Replacing lead has many problems, including a higher melting point, and the formation of tin whiskers causing electrical problems. Replacement alloys are rapidly being found, however.[47]

  Tin plating

Tin bonds readily to iron and is used for coating lead or zinc and steel to prevent corrosion. 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.[48] Speakers of British English call them "tins", while speakers of American English call them "cans" or "tin cans". One thus-derived use of the slang term "tinnie" or "tinny" means "can of beer". The tin whistle is so called because it was first mass-produced in tin-plated steel.[49][50]

  Specialized alloys

  Pewter plate

Tin in combination with other elements forms a wide variety of useful alloys. Tin is most commonly alloyed with copper. Pewter is 85–99% tin;[51] Babbitt metal has a high percentage of tin as well.[52][53] Bronze is mostly copper (12% tin), while addition of phosphorus gives phosphor bronze. Bell metal is also a copper-tin alloy, containing 22% tin. Tin has also sometimes been used in coinage; for example, it once formed a single figure percentage of the American[54] and Canadian[55] pennies. Because copper is often the major metal in such coins, and zinc is sometimes present as well, these could technically be called bronze and/or brass alloys.

  Tin plated metal from can

The niobium-tin compound Nb3Sn is commercially used as wires for superconducting magnets, due to the material's high critical temperature (18 K) and critical magnetic field (25 T). A superconducting magnet weighing only a couple of kilograms is capable of producing magnetic fields comparable to a conventional electromagnet weighing tons.[56]

A addition of a few percent tin is commonly used in zirconium alloys for the cladding of nuclear fuel.[57]

Most metal pipes in a pipe organ are made of varying amounts of a tin/lead alloy, with 50%/50% being the most common. The amount of tin in the pipe defines the pipe's tone, since tin is the most tonally resonant of all metals[dubious ]. When a tin/lead alloy cools, the lead cools slightly faster and 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, its workability, and resistance to corrosion.[58][59]

  Other applications

  A 21st century reproduction barn lantern made of punched tin.

Punched tin, also called pierced tin, is an artisan technique originating in central Europe for creating housewares that are both functional and decorative. Decorative piercing designs exist in a wide variety, based on geography or the artisan's personal creations. 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. Punched tin lanterns and other punched tin articles were created in the New World from the earliest European settlement. A well-known example is the Revere type lantern, named after Paul Revere.[60]

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 came into 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. Modern reproductions of these articles remain popular in North America.[61]

Window glass is most often made by floating molten glass on top of molten tin (creating float glass) in order to produce a flat surface. This is called the "Pilkington process".[62]

Tin is also 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.[63]

Tin(II) fluoride is added to some dental care products[64][65] as stannous fluoride (SnF2). Tin(II) fluoride can be mixed with calcium abrasives while the more common sodium fluoride gradually becomes biologically inactive combined with calcium compounds.[66] It has also been shown to be more effective than sodium fluoride in controlling gingivitis.[67]

  Organotin compounds

Of all the chemical compounds of tin, the organotin compounds are most heavily used. Worldwide industrial production probably exceeds 50,000 tonnes.[68]

  PVC stabilizers

The major commercial application of organotin compounds is in the stabilization of PVC plastics. In the absence of such stabilizers, PVC would otherwise rapidly degrade under heat, light, and atmospheric oxygen, to give discolored, brittle products. Tin scavenges labile chloride ions (Cl-), which would otherwise initiate loss of HCl from the plastic material.[69] Typical tin compounds are carboxylic acid derivatives of dibutyltin dichloride, such as the dilaurate.[70]


Organotin compounds can have a relatively high toxicity, which is both advantageous and problematic. They have been used for their biocidal effects in/as fungicides, pesticides, algaecides, wood preservatives, and antifouling agents.[69] Tributyltin oxide is used as a wood preservative.[71] Tributyltin was used as additive for ship paint to prevent growth of marine organisms on ships, with use declining after organotin compounds were recognized as persistent organic pollutants with an extremely high toxicity for some marine organisms, for example the dog whelk.[72] The EU banned the use of organotin compounds in 2003,[73] while concerns over the toxicity of these compounds to marine life and their effects on the reproduction and growth of some marine species,[69] (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.[74] Many nations now restrict the use of organotin compounds to vessels over 25 meters long.[69]

  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 and oxime groups to amines. The Stille reaction couples organotin compounds with organic halides or pseudohalides.[75]


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.[26]

  See also


  1. ^ Only H, F, P, Tl and Xe have a higher receptivity for NMR analysis for samples containing isotopes at their natural abundance.


  1. ^ Magnetic susceptibility of the elements and inorganic compounds, in Lide, D. R., ed. (2005). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (86th ed.). Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-0486-5. 
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  3. ^ Ink with tin nanoparticles could print future circuit boards, Physorg, April 12, 2011; Jo, Yun Hwan; Jung, Inyu; Choi, Chung Seok; Kim, Inyoung; Lee, Hyuck Mo (2011). "Synthesis and characterization of low temperature Sn nanoparticles for the fabrication of highly conductive ink". Nanotechnology 22 (22): 225701. Bibcode 2011Nanot..22v5701J. DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/22/22/225701. PMID 21454937. 
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  5. ^ a b Schwartz, Mel (2002). "Tin and Alloys, Properties". Encyclopedia of Materials, Parts and Finishes (2nd ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 1-56676-661-3. 
  6. ^ This conversion is known as tin disease or tin pest. Tin pest was a particular problem in northern Europe in the 18th century as organ pipes made of tin alloy would sometimes be affected during long cold winters. Some sources also say that during 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.Le Coureur, Penny; Burreson, Jay (2004). Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules that Changed History. New York: Penguin Group USA. 
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