Tin is a chemical element with symbol Sn (for Latin: stannum) and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group-14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4. Tin is the 49th most abundant element and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table. Tin is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, where it occurs as tin dioxide, SnO2.
This silvery, malleable post-transition metal is not easily oxidized in air and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion. The first alloy, used in large scale since 3000 BC, was bronze, an alloy of tin and copper. After 600 BC pure metallic tin was produced. Pewter, which is an alloy of 85–90% tin with the remainder commonly consisting of copper, antimony and lead, was used for flatware from the Bronze Age until the 20th century. In modern times tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin/lead soft solders, typically containing 60% or more of tin. Another large application for tin is corrosion-resistant tin plating of steel. Because of its low toxicity, tin-plated metal is also used for food packaging, giving the name to tin cans, which are made mostly of steel.
Famous quotes containing the word tin:
“The obvious parallels between Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz have frequently been noted: in both there is the orphan hero who is raised on a farm by an aunt and uncle and yearns to escape to adventure. Obi-wan Kenobi resembles the Wizard; the loyal, plucky little robot R2D2 is Toto; C3PO is the Tin Man; and Chewbacca is the Cowardly Lion. Darth Vader replaces the Wicked Witch: this is a patriarchy rather than a matriarchy.”
—Andrew Gordon, U.S. educator, critic. The Inescapable Family in American Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, Journal of Popular Film and Television (Summer 1992)
“Another one o them new worlds. No beer, no women, no pool parlors, nothing. Nothing to do but throw rocks at tin cans. And we gotta bring our own tin cans.”
—Cyril Hume, and Fred McLeod Wilcox. Cook (Earl Holliman)
“The knocking out of a pipe can be made almost as important as the smoking of it, especially if there are nervous people in the room. A good, smart knock of a pipe against a tin wastebasket and you will have a neurasthenic out of his chair and into the window sash in no time.”
—Robert Benchley (18891945)