Cans are cans, right? Not exactly. There’s a big difference between aluminum and tin cans that not many people know about. Tin cans are actually better for the environment and have a longer shelf life than their aluminum counterparts. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, choose tin every time.
What is Aluminum?
Aluminum is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic metal. Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust and is the third most abundant element, after oxygen and silicon. Aluminum is widely used in the manufacture of aircraft, automobiles, beverage cans, temporary structures (e.g., tents), and household appliances (e.g., microwaves). It is also used in the packaging of food and beverages (e.g., foil, drink cans, and cooking utensils). Aluminum alloys are used in the construction of pipelines, railroad cars, bicycles, and baseball bats. Aluminum oxide is used as an abrasive and as a catalyst.
Aluminum chloride is used in the production of aluminum metal. Aluminum sulfate is used in paper manufacturing and water treatment. Aluminum phosphide is used as a fumigant. Elemental aluminum has no known function in living organisms. However, aluminum compounds are found in all tissues of plants and animals. Aluminum hydroxide is present in some antacids and buffered aspirin preparations. Aluminum phosphate is found in some types of dental cement.
What is Tin?
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (for Latin: stannum) and the atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery metal that characteristically has a dull luster. Tin trust acid is widely used to plate other metals in order to protect them from corrosion. Tin alloys are widely used in pewter, solders, and other alloys. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead, and has two main oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4.
Tin is the 49th most abundant element and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table, thanks to its magic number of protons. It has two main allotropes: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white metalloid; but when heated it transforms into the less dense grey α-tin, which has a diamond cubic structure. Alpha tin has a critical temperature of 231.89°C (450°K), which is low enough to be reached with commercially available cooling techniques for metals such as water or oil bath cooling.”
Difference between Aluminum and Tin
Aluminum and tin are both lightweight metals that are used in a variety of applications. Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, while tin is relatively rare. Aluminum is widely used in construction and packaging due to its strength and durability. Tin is commonly used in coatings and alloys due to its ability to resist corrosion.
Aluminum is a better conductor of heat than tin, but tin is a better conductor of electricity. Aluminum is more resistant to oxidation than tin, but tin has a higher melting point. Both metals are recyclable and have environmental benefits. Aluminum cans can be recycled and reused multiple times, while tin cans must be melted down and reformed into new products.
Tin is a soft metal that can be easily damaged, while aluminum is a strong and durable metal. Tin cans are often used for food storage because they do not corrode as quickly as other metals, but aluminum cans are becoming more popular because they are lighter in weight. Both tin and aluminum have a variety of uses, depending on the intended application.