Tin (Sn)

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Tin 50Sn118.69

Known to ancient civilizations

[Anglo-Saxon, tin; Latin, stannum]

French: etain
German: Zinn
Italian: stagno
Spanish: estaño

Description: Tin is a soft, pliable, silvery-white metal that is unreactive to oxygen (protected by an oxygen film on the surface) and water. It dissolves in acids and bases. Tin is used in solder, alloys, tin plate, polymer additives and some anti-fouling paints.



Tin single crystal properties

State: single crystal
Crystal structure: tetragonal
Production method: Bridgeman
Standard size: diameter 9-10mm
thickness 1-2mm
Orientation: (100), (110) and (111)
Orientation accuracy: <2°, <1°, <0.4° or <0.1°
Polishing: as cut, one or two sides polished
Roughness of surface: <0.03µm
Purity: 99.999%
Typical analysis (ppm): C 3
H < 1
O 9
N < 5
Cu 1.60
Fe 1.80
Ni < 1
Pb 0.30
Si 0.30

Ga, Hf and Ta are below the detection limit

Materials properties

Density: 7.30 g/cm3
Melting point: 231.968 °C / 505.118 °K
Boiling point: 2269.85 °C / 2543 °K
Molar volume: 16.24 (b) cm3
Thermal conductivity: 66.6 (a) [300 K] Wm-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 5.3 x 10-6 (a) K-1
Electrical resistivity: 11.0x 10-8 (a) [273 K] Wm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -4.0 x 10-9(a) kg-1m3
Young's modulus: 49.9 GPa
Rigidity modulus: 18.4 GPa
Bulk modulus: 58.2 GPa
Poisson's ratio: 0.357
Radii: Sn4+ 74; Sn2+ 93; Sn4- 294; atomic 141; covalent 1
Electronegativity: 1.96 (Pauling); 1.72 (Allred); 4.30 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 5.65 (Slater); 9.10 (Clementi); 11.11 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 37
Issotope mass range: 106 -> 132
Crystal structure, (cell dimentions / pm), space group tetragonal
X-ray diffraction: mass absorption coefficients: CuKα 256 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKα 31.1 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.6225 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 0.626 sa / barns


Biological data

Biological role: May be essential to some organisms, including human.
Toxic intake: low toxicity as metal and some inorganic tin (II) salts
Lethal intake: LD50 (SnCl2, oral, rat) = 700 mg kg-1
Hazards: Tin (II) salts can be pisonous by ingestion and other routes and there is evidence that tin can have experimental carcinogenic and human mutagenic effects. Some organotin compounds are very toxic.
Level in humans  
Blood: c. 0.38 mg dm-3
Bone: 1.4 p.p.m.
Liver: 0.23 - 2.3 p.p.m.
Muscle: 0.33 - 2.4 p.p.m.
Daily dietary intake: 0.2 - 3.5 mg
Total mass of element in average [70 kg] person: 20 mg


Geological data

MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Cassiterite SnO2 6.99 6 - 7 tet., adam./ met. brown


Chief ore: cassiterite
World production: 165 000 tonnes/year
Main mining areas: Malaysia, Sumatra, Russia, China, Bolivia, Zaire
Reserves: 4.5 x 106 tonnes
Specimen: available as bars, breads, foil, granules, rod, shot and wire. Safe.


Sun: 100 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 2.2 p.p.m.
Residence time:  
Classification: scavenged
Oxidation state: IV

Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

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