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The Element Tin


"The Atom"

What is Tin? Origin / Meaning of the name Tin
The name originates from the old Celtic word 'tinne' meaning 'bar of metal'. Tin was very important in antiquity as it was a required substance in the production of bronze.

Bronze was made from about 85-95% copper and 5-15% tin. A late Bronze Age shipwreck of a trading vessel, discovered off the coast of Turkey, contained more than 300 copper bars and about 40 tin bars. These 'bars of metal' would have been used in trade.

The Greeks imported the metal from Cassiterides, 'the tin islands', which are believed to be a reference to Great Britain which had tin mines in Cornwall. An important ore of tin is Tin oxide, called Cassiterite (SnO2). The Cornish word for tin was 'stan'.

Properties of the Tin Element
Symbol of Element : Sn
Atomic Number of Tin : 50
Atomic Mass: 118.71 amu
Melting Point: 231.9 C - 505.05 K
Boiling Point: 2270.0 C - 2543.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons: 50
Number of Neutrons : 69
Crystal Structure: Tetragonal
Density @ 293 K: 7.31 g/cm3
Color: silvery

What is Tin? Origin / Meaning of the symbol for Tin - Sn
The symbol for tin, Sn, originates from the Latin word 'stannum' means "to drip" in reference to to how easily tin melts.

What is Tin as on the Periodic Table? Definition of the Tin Element
A malleable and quite soft, silvery metallic element obtained chiefly from cassiterite. Tin is not easily oxidized and resists corrosion because it is protected by an oxide film. It is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion and is a part of numerous alloys, such as soft solder, pewter, type metal, and bronze. The Atomic Number of this element is 50 and the chemical symbol is Sn.

What is Tin? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Tin Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Tin is classified in the 'Other Metals' section which can be located in groups 13, 14, and 15 of the Periodic Table. All of these elements are solid, have a relatively high density and are opaque. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.

What is Tin? Properties of Tin
Pure tin, called block tin, is a soft white metal with a silver-like appearance and luster; it melts readily (235) and is somewhat lighter than copper, having a density of 7.3. It is quite malleable and can be rolled out into very thin sheets, forming tin foil; most tin foil, however, contains a good deal of Lead. Under ordinary conditions it is quite unchanged by air or moisture, but at a high temperature it burns in air, forming the oxide SnO2
. Dilute acids have no effect upon it, but concentrated acids attack it readily. For additional facts and information refer to Tin Properties.

Facts about the Discovery and History of the Tin Element
Tin dates back to antiquity. Used in bronze implements including weapons and tools as early as 3,000 BC. First believed to have been mined in Cornwall in South-East England. Tin was first smelted in combination with Copper about 3000 BC to produce bronze and brass. Tin is one of the metals referred to as one of the 'Metals of Antiquity'. The ancient 'Metals of Antiquity' together with their approximate dates of discovery and use are Gold (6000BC), Copper (9000BC), Silver (4000BC), Lead (6400BC), Tin (3000BC), Iron (1500BC) and Mercury (1500BC).

What is Tin? Occurrence of the Tin Element
Tin is found in nature chiefly as the oxide (SnO2
), called cassiterite or tinstone. Obtained chiefly from the ore cassiterite. About 35 countries mine tin.

What is Tin? Uses of Tin
A large amount of tin is made into tin plate by dipping thin steel sheets into the melted metal. Owing to the way in which tin resists the action of air and dilute acids, tin plate is used in many ways, such as in roofing, and in the manufacture of tin cans, cooking vessels, and similar articles.

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 410-7%
% in Sun 910-7%
% in Meteorites 0.00012%
% in Earth's Crust 0.00022%
% in Oceans 110-9%
% in Humans 0.00002%

Associated Uses of Tin
Coating for steel cans
Tin ceilings, signs, tiles, tin soldier, whistle, containers and tin roofs
Tin oxide is used in dentistry as a polishing agent for teeth and in some restorative procedures

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