Tin Metal Uses

Tin has many uses. It takes a high polish and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion, such as in tin cans, which are made of tin-coated steel. Tin is a silvery-white metal that’s obtained mainly from the mineral cassiterite. Chinese is the top producer of tin by a long shot, though the metal is also produced in large quantities by Indonesia and Peru.


Because of its many positive characteristics, there are a lot of uses for tin. For example, the metal is malleable, ductile and not easily oxidized in air; it’s also lightweight, durable and fairly resistant to corrosion. Those qualities make tin a good candidate for use in solder, as well as tinplate, chemicals, brass and bronze and other niche areas.  Alloys of tin are important, such as soft solder, pewter, bronze and phosphor bronze. A niobium-tin alloy is used for superconducting magnets.



Understanding the many uses for tin is essential for investors interested in the metal. After all, in order to get a grasp of supply and demand dynamics, it’s important to know what exactly tin is used for, and how much tin those applications require. With that in mind, here’s a brief overview of the various uses for tin.



Solder is a fusible metal alloy that’s used to join metal workpiece. It can be made in various ways, but often is a lead-tin alloy. In these alloys, tin concentrations range from 5 to 70 percent by weight, with tensile and shear strengths increasing at higher levels of concentration.



Tin’s resistance to corrosion is what makes it important for tin plating, and the process has a long history — it was first employed in the early 1800 s, when tin-plated cans were created for preserving food. More recently, tinplate accounted for 17 percent of tin consumption in 2011. That’s a sizable chunk, but well behind the amount used in solder.



They are chemical compounds based on tin with hydrocarbon substituents. Typically they are used as stabilizers in polyvinyl chloride, suppressing degradation by removing allylic chloride groups and absorbing hydrogen chloride.


Brass and bronze:

As mentioned, tin can be alloyed with lead to make solder. However, lead isn’t the only metal that tin can be alloyed with; in fact, it’s most commonly alloyed with copper. One oft-discussed alloy of tin and copper is bronze, which is mostly copper and contains only 12 percent tin. Others include pewter, which is 85 to 99 percent tin, as well as bearing metal, which also has high tin content.