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Tin is a post-transition metal in group 14 of the periodic table. It is soft and malleable with a high melting point (232 degC).
The chemical name for tin is Sn, and its symbol is stannum. It is a common metal and 12% of the common alloy, bronze.
It has a bright silvery-white appearance and is ductile (able to be stretched without breaking). This makes it very useful in making alloys with other metals, including lead, copper, zinc, nickel and manganese.
At room temperature, tin does not react with oxygen and water. This allows it to be used as a coating for other metals, such as steel.
During the melting process, it forms an oxide which has a protective effect on other metals. This is why tin is so important in metallurgy and heat treatment.
This is also why it is used in a wide range of products. A common example is tin cans, which are made of tin-plated steel.
Aside from tin cans, tin is often found in other forms, such as wire and rods that are used as solders. It is also commonly used as a base metal for alloys, such as pewter.
The melt point of tin depends on its concentration, its temperature, and its other properties. Depending on these, it can physically form several different liquid and solid phases.
This is because it has a wide variety of stable oxidation states, with the main ones being +2 and +4. It conducts electricity as well as iron and platinum but is 5-times less effective than these metals in conducting heat.