The chemical element that belongs to the periodic table is called tin, its atomic number is 50 and it is represented by the symbol Sn. It is located in group 14. Of tin, 10 stable isotopes are known, and its main ore is cassiterite.
This element is a generally white and also gray metal, it is malleable and superficially oxidizes when it is at room temperature. This effect provides corrosion resistance through passivation. For this reason, it is used to coat other metals and protect them from corrosion. It is found in various alloys.
When a bar of this metal is bent, a very characteristic sound is recreated, known as the tin cry. This is produced by the friction created in the crystals of which it is composed. A distinctive feature is that under certain thermal conditions a tin parasite is generated.
Uses of pewter
- It is used to minimize the fragility of the glass.
- It is used to protect steel, iron and different metals that are used in the creation of canned foods.
- It is useful for the production of tin, bronze and copper alloys.
- Compounds of this element are recommended for pigments, fungicides, toothpastes and dyes.
- Tin is used to bond with lead, to make the sheet used in musical organ pipes.
- With lead alloy, it is used for white solder.
- It is used as a filler material used in white solder with soldering iron, whether alloyed or in pure form. The RoHS directive prohibits the use of lead in this type of solder in specific cases of Electron and electrical devices.
- It is particularly important in the use of labels.
- It is used in the corking of wine bottles with a capsule appearance. This use became popular when the application of lead in the food industry was banned. Spain is one of the countries that manufactures the most pewter capsules.
- Pewter is also used in ceramic companies to make ceramic glazes. The function of this element lies in the fact that at high and low altitudes it acts as an opacifier.
History and obtaining of tin
The use of tin began in the Balkans and the Near East around 2000 BC, being used as an alloy with copper for the production of a new material, bronze, thus giving rise to the famous Bronze Age.
The importance of the new alloy with which were created tools and weapons more effective than those in bone or stone that existed at that time, gave rise in antiquity to an intense long-distance trade with the places where found the deposits of this element.
With tin, we obtain the mineral cassiterite, which is in the form of oxide. This ore is crushed and enriched in tin dioxide by flotation, then roasted and heated with coke in a reverberatory furnace to obtain the metal.
Effects of tin on humans
The main routes of tin poisoning in humans are:
- Eating shellfish or fish found in tin-contaminated water.
- Drinking beverages or food packaged in cans made with tin, although almost all of those currently on the market are coated with a protective lacquer.
- Coming into contact with products and household items that contain tin compounds, such as some plastics.
- Ingestion of large amounts of inorganic compounds of this element can cause anemia, stomach pain, and kidney and liver damage.
- Metallic tin is not very toxic to humans because it is not absorbed efficiently through the digestive tract, but inhalation of tin vapors seriously damages the respiratory system.
- Breathe air contaminated with pewter dust or pewter fumes.
- Inorganic and organic compounds may cause irritation if in contact with eyes or skin.
- Ingestion or inhalation of organic tin compounds can damage the functioning of the brain and nervous system and, in the worst case, lead to death. There are other organic compounds of this element that affect animal reproduction and the immune system, but there is no evidence of these in humans.
Electron configuration of tin
The simplified or abbreviated Electron configuration of tin is [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5s2, while its full version is 1s2 2s2 2s6 3s2 3s6 3d10 4s2 4s6 4d10 5s2 5s2.