Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (from Latin stannum) and atomic number 50. A silvery-coloured metal, tin is soft enough to be cut with little force, and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent, the so-called "tin cry" can be heard as a result of twinning in tin crystals; this trait is shared by indium, cadmium, zinc, and mercury in its solid state.

Pure tin after solidifying presents a mirror-like appearance similar to most metals. In most tin alloys (e. g. pewter) the metal solidifies with a dull grey colour.

Tin is a post-transition metal in group 14 of the periodic table of elements. It is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, which contains stannic oxide, SnO2. Tin shows a chemical similarity to both of its neighbors in group 14, germanium and lead, and has two main oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4. Tin is the 49th-most abundant element on Earth and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table, due to its magic number of protons.

It has two main allotropes: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white, malleable metal; at low temperatures it is less dense grey α-tin, which has the diamond cubic structure. Metallic tin does not easily oxidize in air and water.

The first tin alloy used on a large scale was bronze, made of 1⁄8 tin and 7⁄8 copper (12. 5% and 87. 5% respectively), from as early as 3000 BC. 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, bismuth, and sometimes lead and silver, has been used for flatware since the Bronze Age. In modern times, tin is used in many alloys, most notably tin-lead soft solders, which are typically 60% or more tin, and in the manufacture of transparent, electrically conducting films of indium tin oxide in optoelectronic applications. Another large application is corrosion-resistant tin plating of steel. Because of the low toxicity of inorganic tin, tin-plated steel is widely used for food packaging as "tin cans". Some organotin compounds can be extremely toxic.

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Atomic properties

Standard atomic weight118.71 ±0.007
Atomic mass118.71 u

Atomic radii

Radius (empirical)140 pm
Radius (calculated)145 pm
Covalent radius139 ±4 pm
Van der Waals radius217 pm

Atomic shell

Electron configurationKr 4d10 5s2 5p2
Ionization energy(1st) 7.343918 eV
(2nd) 14.63307 eV
(3rd) 30.506 eV
(4th) 40.74 eV
(5th) 77.03 eV
Shell model

Physical properties

Densityα 5.769 g·cm−3 (293.1 K)
β 7.265 g·cm−1 (293.1 K)
Molar volume1.629·10-5 m3·mol−1
Speed of sound2,500 m·s−1 (293.1 K)


Melting point505 K
Boiling point2,875 K
Liquid range2,369 K
Transition temperature3.7 K


Melting enthalpy7 kJ·mol-1
Enthalpy of vaporization290 kJ·mol-1
Binding energy302 kJ·mol-1

Heat and conductivity

Thermal conductivity67 W·m-1·K-1
Expansion coefficient2.2·10-5 K-1
Work function4.42 eV


Mohs hardness1.5
Brinell hardness51 NM·m-2

Elastic properties

Young’s modulus50 GPa
Shear modulus18 GPa
Bulk modulus58 GPa
Poisson’s ratio0.36

Electrical properties

Electrical conductivity8.69·106 S·m-1
Resistance1.15·10-7 Ωm


Magnetic susceptibility3.1·10-6 cm3·mol−1 (298 K)

Optical properties

Reflectivity54 %

Chemical properties

Oxidation state(-4), 4, 2
Standard potential-0.137 V (Sn2+ + 2e- → Sn)


Pauling scale1.96
Sanderson scale1.49
Allred-Rochow scale1.72
Mulliken scale2.21
Allen scale1.824
Ghosh-Gupta scale4.672 eV
Nagle scale1.7
Pearson absolute negativity4.3 eV

Other properties

Natural occurrenceprimordial
Crystal structureTetragonal
Goldschmidt Classificationchalcophile
Superconductorwith transition tempperature (solid body, normal pressure)
Price/kg18.7 USD

Natural abundances

4 ppb ≈ 4.02·1010 M☉
9 ppb ≈ 1.79·1010 Mt
1,200 ppb ≈ 1.2 g
Earth’s crust
2,200 ppb ≈ 60,900 Mt
0.01 ppb ≈ 13.7 kt
Flowing water
0.06 ppb ≈ 960 t
Human body
200 ppb ≈ 14 mg