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Tin is a silvery metallic element with the symbol Sn (from Latin: stannum) and the atomic number 50. It is a post-transition metal in Group 14 of the periodic table of elements. Pure tin is soft and can be cut with little force, but it is usually mixed with other metals to make alloys such as pewter, solders, and other alloys. It is a relatively rare metal and is the 49th most abundant metal on Earth.
The melting point of tin is 338 °C. This is lower than the melting points of copper and gold but higher than those of silver, mercury, and zinc. The low melting point of tin and its ability to be alloyed with many other metals make it a useful material for numerous applications.
For example, tin-lead solders are used in industry and electronics, and tin has the advantage over lead that it is safer to work with at high temperatures. Other tin alloys include bronzes, pewter, bearing metals, and type metals, as well as babbitt metal and low-temperature casting alloys.
In addition, tin is commonly plated onto iron or steel to protect them from corrosion. Organic tin compounds are also used as stabilizers for certain plastics and as wood preservatives. Tin oxide in the +2 oxidation state is used as a paint and to coat glass for protection against corrosion; tin fluoride and tin pyrophosphate are used as dentifrices. Tin turns into a superconductor at low temperatures and is one of the first such materials to be studied; its Meissner effect is still taught in schools.