NMR properties:

Magnetogyric Ratio NMR frequency Natural abundance (NA) Nuclear spin (I) Quadrupole moment (Q) Reference sample
119 Sn -10.031710^7 rad/sT 37.2906MHz 8.59% 0.5

Me4Sn +5% C6D6

119 Sn
50

History

(anglo-Saxon, tin; L. stannum) Known to the ancients.

Sources

Tin is found chiefly in cassiterite (SnO2). Most of the world's supply comes from Malaya, Bolivia,
Indonesia, Zaire, Thailand, and Nigeria. The U.S. produces almost none, although occurrences have been
found in Alaska and California. Tin is obtained by reducing the ore with coal in a reverberatory furnace.

Properties

Ordinary tin is composed of nine stable isotopes; 18 unstable isotopes are also known. Ordinary tin is a
silver-white metal, is malleable, somewhat ductile, and has a highly crystalline structure. Due to the
breaking of these crystals, a "tin cry" is heard when a bar is bent.

Forms

The element has two allotropic forms at normal pressure. On warming, gray, or alpha tin, with a cubic
structure, changes at 13.2oC into white, or beta tin, the ordinary form of the metal. White tin has a
tetragonal structure. When tin is cooled below 13.2oC, it changes slowly from white to gray. This change
is affected by impurities such as aluminum and zinc, and can be prevented by small additions of
antimony or bismuth. This change from the alpha to beta form is called the tin pest. There are few if any
uses for gray tin. Tin takes a high polish and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion or other
chemical action. Such tin plate over steel is used in the so-called tin can for preserving food.
Alloys of tin are very important. Soft solder, type metal, fusible metal, pewter, bronze, bell metal,
Babbitt metal, White metal, die casting alloy, and phosphor bronze are some of the important alloys
using tin.
Tin resists distilled sea and soft tap water, but is attacked by strong acids, alkalis, and acid salts. Oxygen
in solution accelerates the attack. When heated in air, tin forms Sn2, which is feebly acid, forming
stannate salts with basic oxides. The most important salt is the chloride, which is used as a reducing
agent and as a mordant in calico printing. Tin salts sprayed onto glass are used to produce electrically
conductive coatings. These have been used for panel lighting and for frost-free windshields. Most
window glass is now made by floating molten glass on molten tin (float glass) to produce a flat surface
(Pilkington process).
Of recent interest is a crystalline tin-niobium alloy that is superconductive at very low temperatures. This
promises to be important in the construction of superconductive magnets that generate enormous field
strengths but use practically no power. Such magnets, made of tin-niobium wire, weigh but a few pounds
and produce magnetic fields that, when started with a small battery, are comparable to that of a 100 ton
electromagnet operated continuously with a large power supply.

Handling

The small amount of tin found in canned foods is quite harmless. The agreed limit of tin content in U.S.
foods is 300 mg/kg. The trialkyl and triaryl tin compounds are used as biocides and must be handled
carefully.

Cost

Over the past 25 years the price of tin has varied from 50 cents/lb to its present price of abotu $4/lb. as of
January 1990.