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Few metals have influenced human history so profoundly as Tin (Sn). The early demand for Tin created ancient trade routes and lured tribes across continents. Tin catalyzed wars and underpinned the wealth of nations. It became the subject of legends and songs, paintings and poems — and court cases.
Cassiterite (SnO2) is the most important Tin Ore. As with most minerals, it originates in a huge reservoir of magma (molten rock) that slowly cools and crystallizes into hard rock at or near the earth’s surface. If the magma contains enough Tin, Cassiterite can become part of the rock. Secondary Tin deposits form after the rock disintegrates, which frees the Cassiterite grains to join sand and gravel in semi-consolidated placer deposits.
Main Uses. Tin is malleable and generally non-toxic, has a low melting point and resists corrosion. This combination of properties gives it many industrial applications. It appears in the coating of Indium–Tin Oxide on liquid crystal displays in TVs, cell phones and other electronics. It is alloyed into bronze and some types of brass. Furthermore, it is manufactured into tinplate, the corrosion-resistant coating applied to some items made of iron, steel or zinc.
The largest consumption of Tin is in soldering agents, which are used to join metals. Tin creates a strong, adhesive bond with many metals, and its presence in solders boosts tensile and shear strength. The growing market for lead-free, tin-based solders means greater sales of high-purity (99.99%) Tin, a product that is already crucial in the electronics sector.