Tin Plague


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Tin Plague

 

(also tin pest), the transformation of white tin, or β-Sn, into its allotropic form, gray tin, or α-Sn; it is accompanied by disintegration of the metal into a gray powder. Pulverization with tin plague results from a sharp increase in the specific volume of the metal (the density of white tin is greater than that of gray tin). Tin plague spreads in a manner similar to physiological diseases, and the transition between allotropic forms is facilitated by contact between white tin and particles of gray tin. The spread of tin plague reaches a maximum rate at – 33°C and is inhibited by lead and other impurities. The members of R. Scott’s 1912 expedition to the South Pole perished when their liquid-fuel containers, which were soldered with tin, were destroyed by tin plague.