Are Tin Cans Attracted to a Magnet?

Cans are perhaps the most well-known use for tin.
••• Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Tin, abbreviated Sn on the periodic table, has multiple forms or allotropes. The one used commercially, white tin, is paramagnetic, meaning that it does not create a magnetic field of its own but is magnetized in the presence of external magnetic fields. Most "tin cans," though, are not made entirely of tin.

Invention

The tin can was patented by British inventor Peter Durand in 1810 as a novel method of food preservation. The earliest tin cans were made of iron coated with a thin layer of tin for corrosion resistance.

Evolution

Tinplate steel, or steel with a very thin coating of tin, eventually replaced iron. In 1957, manufacturers began using aluminum instead. Aluminum simplified production by making cans from two pieces of metal rather than three. The bottom of the can is aluminum, while the cap is tinplate steel. In 1965, some manufacturers began coating steel cans with chromium instead of tin. Nearly all of these products are still colloquially referred to as "tin cans."

Magnetism

Iron, steel, tin and aluminum are paramagnetic materials -- so regardless of the composition of your "tin" can, it will be attracted to a magnet.

Related Articles

What Are Tin Cans Made Of?
What Is the Most Abundant Metal on Earth?
Physical and Chemical Properties for the Element Aluminum
How to Make Sodium Nitrate
How to Build Your Own Paper Foil Capacitor
The Difference Between Aluminum & Tin Can
List of Recyclable Aluminum Cans
Metal as a Renewable or Nonrenewable Resource
Is Pewter Safe?
Can Brass Be Magnetized?
What Is Zinc Alloy?
List of Metals That Are Attracted to Magnets
How to Calculate an Equivalent Fraction
Why Do Pennies Change Color?
Things Made Out of Tungsten
The Eight Most Abundant Elements in the Earth's Crust
What Happens When SO2 Reacts With Steel?
Different Types of Alloys & Use
Signs of a Chemical Reaction With Steel Wool and Peroxide
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!