50Sn Tin

Year Discovered

Antiquity

Discovered By

Unknown

Biological Rating

Necessary for animals.

Description

The meaning of its name is unknown, but it is an Anglo-Saxon word. Bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, was a vital metal during the Bronze Age. Tin is a soft, pliable, silvery-white metal. It is stable in air and water but reactive to acids and bases. Tin has two forms, alpha or gray tin, and beta or white tin. White tin is the common, metallic form. Gray tin can be converted to white by heating it past 55 degrees F. White tin returns to gray tin as it cools below 55 degrees F. This transformation between gray and white tin is known as the tin pest. All uses of tin are of the white form. The transformation can be prevented by alloying tin with antimony or bismuth. Tin, like indium, makes a peculiar noise when bent, the so-called “tin-cry”. The fact that tin does not corrode in air or water makes it ideal for storing food. The famed tin can is actually a steel can with a microscopically thin coating of tin. At one point, over forty million tin cans were produced every year, but use of aluminum and other types of containers have reduced this number. Tin is used as a coating for other metals and in alloys, such as solder, pewter and bronze. Tin compounds sprayed onto glass produce a electrically conductive coating. Window glass is made flat by floating molten glass on molten tin. Tin is also used in polymer additives, mordants for dyeing, and anti-fouling paints for ship’s hulls. A tin-niobium compound is superconducting at very low temperatures. Tin also is used in bell-making. The symbol for tin, Sn, comes from tin’s Latin name stannum.

Biological Benefits

Tin is believed to be an essential trace element in humans and other species. However, its function has not been determined.

Role in Life Processes

Beneficial properties for full health

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.00003%

Sources

Tin is obtained mainly from cassiterite (tin dioxide); tin is rarely present in other minerals. Cassiterite is mined in China, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bolivia.