Tin

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A metal and chemical element, in the periodic table tin has the symbol Sn and atomic number 50.


Tin has been known, and used as a component of bronze from antiquity, with a thriving trade in Classical times between the mines in Cornwall and the civilisations of the Mediterranean.

Tin bonds readily to iron, and has been used for coating iron and steel plate to prevent corrosion. Tin-plated steel containers are widely used for food preservation, and this forms a large part of the market for metallic tin.

There was an organisation known as the International Tin Council, which acted on behalf of the principal tin producers in Cornwall and Malaysia to buy up surplus tin stocks to maintain the price at a steady level. However, with the advent of aluminium containers, the use of protective polymer lacquers inside cans, and increased recycling by industry, the demand for tin had decreased considerably by the early 1980s, and the ITC could no longer maintain the price. It eventually ran out of money buying up tin on the metals markets. Attempts to refinance the ITC were eventually abandoned, and since then, as with many other raw materials, the price has generally declined as alternatives become more attractive.