Difference Between Tin and Aluminum

Main Difference – Tin vs Aluminum

Tin and aluminum are chemical elements that can be found in the p block of the periodic table. In common, they are considered as metallic elements. They have different uses depending on their chemical and physical properties. Tin can be found in two types as alpha tin and beta tin. Beta tin is the metallic form of tin whereas alpha tin is a nonmetallic form. Aluminum is considered as a metalloid.  Although there are many differences between the two elements, the main difference tin and aluminum is that tin has a silvery-white appearance whereas aluminum has a silvery-gray appearance.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Tin
      – Definition, Chemical Properties, Uses
2. What is Aluminum
      – Definition, Chemical Properties, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Tin and Aluminum
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Alpha Tin, Aluminum, Atomic Number, Beta Tin, Ductile, Tin, Metal, Metalloid, Nonmetal, Tin

Difference Between Tin and Aluminum - Comparison Summary

What is Tin

Tin is a chemical element having the symbol “Sn”. The symbol Sn is used for the Latin name “Stannum”. The atomic number of tin is 50. The molar mass is about 118.71 g/mol. It is a p block element. The electron configuration of tin is [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p2. It is in the group 14 of the periodic table of elements.

Tin is a soft, silvery-white metal. It is used in coating steel cans since it can act as a protective oxide layer. Bronze is a metal alloy produced from tin and copper. Tin metal is malleable and ductile. The melting point of this metal is 231.93 °C and the boiling point is about 2602 °C.

Difference Between Tin and Aluminum

Figure 1: Alpha and Beta Tin

There are two types of tin as alpha tin and beta tin. Alpha tin is the nonmetallic form of tin and is known as gray tin. It is stable at lower temperatures. The crystal structure of alpha tin is diamond cubic crystal structure. Beta tin is the metallic form of tin and is known as white tin. It is stable at temperatures above room temperature. Since alpha tin is a nonmetallic form, it has no use other than using as a semiconductor material.

There are two main oxidation states for tin: +2 and +4. Therefore, the most common oxides of tin are SnO and SnO2. It is highly resistant to corrosion since it can form a protective layer on its surface by oxidation into tin oxide.

What is Aluminum

Aluminum is a chemical element having the symbol “Al”. It is a soft metal with a silvery-gray color. It has a shiny appearance. Aluminum has a low weight compared to other metals. It is malleable, i.e., it can be deformed under pressure. These properties of aluminum have made it to be used in aircraft manufacturing.

Main Difference - Tin vs  Aluminum

Figure 2: A Chunk of Aluminum

In addition, it is a good conductor of heat and electricity. The degree of ductility is high for aluminum; this means, aluminum can be easily molted and drawn into wire-like structures. Aluminum foils are impermeable even when they are very thin.

When considering its chemical properties, the atomic weight of aluminum is 26.98 u. The molar mass of aluminum is about 26.98 g/mol. The atomic number of aluminum is 13. The electron configuration is [Ne] 3s2 3p1. The melting point of aluminum is about 660.32 °C and the boiling point is about 2470 °C.

Aluminum is in the group 13 of the periodic table. It belongs to the p block and is a metalloid. This means it has moderate properties to that of metals and nonmetals. Aluminum is highly ductile. This means it has the ability to be drawn out into a thin wire.

Aluminum has a number of uses. Examples include the production of automobile parts, aircrafts, as packaging material, containers, construction purposes, production of household items, production of metal alloys, etc.

Difference Between Tin and Aluminum

Definition

Tin: Tin is a chemical element having the symbol “Sn”.

Aluminum: Aluminum is a chemical element having the symbol “Al”.

Atomic Number

Tin: The atomic number of tin is 50.

Aluminum: The atomic number of aluminum is 13.

Molar Mass

Tin: The molar mass of tin is about 118.71 g/mol.

Aluminum: The molar mass of aluminum is about 26.98  g/mol.

Melting and Boiling Points

Tin: The melting point of tin is 231.93 °C and the boiling point is about 2602 °C.

Aluminum: The melting point of aluminum is 660.32 °C and the boiling point is about 2470 °C.

Appearance

Tin: Tin appears as a silver-white metal.

Aluminum: Aluminum appears as a silver-gray metal.

Electron Configuration

Tin: The electron configuration of Tin is [Kr] 4d10 5s2 5p2.

Aluminum: The electron configuration of aluminum is [Ne] 3s2 3p1.

Common Oxidation States

Tin: The most common and stable oxidation states of Tin are +2 and +4.

Aluminum: The most common and stable oxidation state of aluminum is +3.

Conclusion

Tin and aluminum are important chemical elements that have a wide range of applications. There are many differences between tin and aluminum. The main difference tin and aluminum is that tin has a silvery-white appearance whereas aluminum has a silvery-gray appearance.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Aluminium.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Nov. 2017, Available here.
2. “Tin (Sn).” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 25 Aug. 2014, Available here.
3. “Tin.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Nov. 2017,  Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Sn-Alpha-Beta” By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0 de) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Aluminium-4” By Unknown –  (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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