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                                         Information @ a Glance
  • Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50.
  • This silvery, malleable poor metal that is not easily oxidized in air and resists corrosion, is found in many alloys and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion.
  • Tin is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, where it occurs as an oxide. It can be alloyed with copper to make bronze. Pewter alloys contain from 85% up to 99% tin.


  • Tin is produced by reducing the ore with coal in a reverberatory furnace. This metal is a relatively scarce element with an abundance in the Earth's crust of about 2 ppm, compared with 94 ppm for zinc, 63 ppm for copper, and 12 ppm for lead.
  • Most of the world's tin is produced from placer deposits. The only mineral of commercial importance as a source of tin is cassiterite , although small quantities of tin are recovered from complex sulfides such as stannite, cylindrite, franckeite, canfieldite, and teallite.
  • Secondary, or scrap, tin is also an important source of the metal.
  • Tin acts as a catalyst when oxygen is in solution and helps accelerate chemical attack. Tin forms the dioxide SnO2 when it is heated in the presence of air. SnO2, in turn, is feebly acidic and forms stannate  salts with basic oxides.


  • The most important salt formed is stannous chloride, which has found use as a reducing agent and as a mordant in the calico printing process.
  • Electrically conductive coatings are produced when tin salts are sprayed onto glass. These coatings have been used in panel lighting and in the production of frost-free windshields.
  • Tin is also used in solders for joining pipes or electric circuits, in bearing alloys, in glass-making, and in a wide range of tin chemical applications.
  • Tin is added to some dental care products as stannous fluoride .


  • Most secondary tin has been produced in the United States from various scrapped alloys of tin and recycled in those same alloy industries.
  • The tin was imported from many countries and was held in U.S. warehouses by trading fi rms until sold to customers. Foreign-owned trading fi rms tended to dominate the marketing of imports.
  • United States imports of refined tin came mostly from Peru, Bolivia, Indonesia, China, and Brazil, in descending order.
  • Reports indicated that China, the world’s leading tin producer from mine and smelter sources, was experiencing a steady rise in tin imports in 2005 as the supply of domestic tin concentrate remained tight.


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