This silvery, malleable poor 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% to 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
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.
β-tin(the metallic form), which exists at room temperature and hotter, is malleable; while the α-tin(nonmetallic form), formed when tin is cooled below 13.2 °C, is brittle. It has a diamond cubic crystal structure, similar to diamond, silicon or germanium. α-tin has no metallic properties at all. It is a dull-grey powdery material with no common uses, other than a few specialized semiconductor applications. These two allotropes α-tin and β-tin, are more commonly known as grey tin and white tin, respectively. Two more allotropes, γ and σ, exist at temperatures above 161 °C and pressures above several GPa. 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.
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, contributing to the defeat of the Grande Armée. The veracity of this story is debatable, because the transformation to grey tin often takes a reasonably long time.
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.
Tin resists corrosion from water, but can be attacked by strong acids, alkalis, and acid salts. Tin can be highly polished and is used as a protective coat for other metals in order to prevent corrosion or other chemical action. Tin acts as a catalyst when oxygen is in solution and helps accelerate chemical attack.
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 atomic 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 analyse by NMR spectroscopy, and its chemical shifts are referenced against SnMe4.
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 in 1994. 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 base value of each unit of ranges between 1 and 20Ð per unit, with up to 3 units being found at any one time.
Presence on Mars: Very Rare
|Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Group 6|
|Group 3|||Antimony | Astatine | Barium | Bismuth | Cesium | Francium | Hafnium | Indium | Iodine | Iridium | Lanthanum | Lead | Mercury | |Osmium | Platinum | Polonium | Radium | Radon | Rhenium | Tantalum | Tellurium | Thallium | Tin | Tungsten | Xenon||