5 Weird Things About Tin

Aug 29, 2016

Read these 5 odd metal facts about Tin that you never thought about…and will always remember:


  • TIN PEST: At around -20 degrees F, tin will transform itself from a shiny, flexible metal to a dull, brittle powder. This is called “tin pest” and can cause things made of tin to crumble to dust when the weather gets very cold.
  • WHISKERS: Pure tin used in electronics is known to grow “whiskers”. These whiskers, which form for unknown reasons, cause havoc in systems where they can act like a tiny antenna, damage delicate parts, or cause short circuits.
  • TIN CANS: Tin cans aren’t made of tin. They are made of steel. The steel is sometimes coated with tin to improve corrosion resistance, but cans made out of tin were not only more expensive but also subject to “tin pest”, which made the cans brittle and breakable.
  • TIN CRY: There’s a distinctive whining cry that is heard when a piece of tin is bent. This “tin cry” happens because the metal is made up of very tiny crystals, and bending the metal causes the crystals to scrape against each other.
  • THE BRONZE AGE: Two thousand years before iron came into common use, bronze was the metal that revolutionized weapons, art, and civilization. This alloy of copper and tin was so superior to any other metal in use at the time that its discovery ushered in the Bronze Age.