Why Food Cans are Coated with Tin?

You must have used canned food in your day-to-day life but ever wondered why food cans are coated with tin? You may already have studied the interesting reason behind this in your chemistry classes but wait, and those complex equations were really difficult and boring to understand. So, let’s understand it in very simple words.

According to the Food Packaging Forum, tin is the most preferable choice for coating food cans because of its anti-corrosion properties. Unlike Zinc and other reactive metals, tin doesn’t react with the acids produced by food naturally. It is also malleable, lightweight and recyclable.

You can notice how easy it was to understand the reason behind using tin as a coating for food cans. Nowadays, as technology is advancing, newer materials are being used to coat food cans. Let’s see the detailed reasons why food cans are coated with tin.

Reason For Food Cans To Be Coated With Tin 

tin food cans

Tin only reacts with strong acids and the food stored in the cans like tomatoes or rhubarb only produces weak acids. So, tin doesn’t react with them, but other metals such as zinc, copper can react with them. Other metals can even dissolve in the liquid stored in the cans and pose a threat to the human body.

If you know a little about the electrochemical series, then zinc and other metals are placed above the tin. So, this means that zinc is more reactive than tin. Hence, it has a higher reactivity and corrosion rate. 

Now, let’s see the detailed reasons why food cans are coated with tin.

  • Increased Shelf-Life of Food

Tin is used in order to coat other metals and which ultimately helps to prevent corrosion for a longer time. It also helps to prevent the food from reacting with oxygen. Although it is a bit expensive, it doesn’t react with the naturally produced acids. 

This helps to increase the shelf life of food and store it for a longer period of time. 

  • Malleable 

Tin is very soft and malleable. So, these properties make it very easy to mold it into different shapes. It has also got high strength and is light in weight. 

These all characteristics help manufacturers to make high-strength food cans very easily. 

  • Recyclable

The best thing about using tin for coating food cans is that it can be recycled. Every year nearly millions of food cans are produced and imagine how much wastage can be prevented by the process of recycling. 

Nowadays, newer materials are being introduced and replacing tin as the coating. I hope you got an idea about why tin is widely famous for coating food cans. But still, there are some concerns about small tin particles migrating into the food. If you have any doubts, then you can ask them in the comment section below.

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