Manufacturing of tin involves the extraction of tin from its ore, which is casseterite. During the manufacturing process, there are several other materials used such as limestone, silica and salt. The caseterrite ore is first purified to remove the chemical and physical impurities. In this process, the ore is passed through a vibrating chamber to remove the physical and the chemical impurities. After this, the ore is made more concentrated by the addition of a few chemicals. As the ore gets more concentrated, it floats to the top of the chamber from where it is collected.
The tin that is collected in this manner is not 100% pure. It is around 80% pure. The 80% pure tin is then subjected to a process where it becomes 95% pure. In this purification process, some magnetic force is applied to the tin, which removes the iron particles from the tin.
Then the tin is subjected to a process called smelting. In this smelting process, the concentrated tin is mixed with carbon and heated in a furnace to about 1400 degree centigrade. During this heating process, limestone and silica are added to the mixture of tin and carbon. This is done to remove any more impurities present in the tin.
At the end of the smelting process, the tin obtained is crude tin. This crude tin is then agitated with steam and by this process the impurities get collected at the top and can be removed manually. The tin that is now obtained is 99.8% pure.
There are no useful byproducts obtained as a result of the manufacturing process. Waste products include the sand, stone and soil that are rejected during the mining and smelting process. The slag produced during the smelting and refining process contains arsenic, lead and other poisonous materials that are harmful to the environment. But tin itself is not harmful to the environment.
The application of tin for commercial purposes is on the rise and will continue to rise. As materials like cadmium and lead are harmful and poisonous, efforts are on to replace these materials with tin. In the soldering process, lead and tin combined was used as the solder. Now efforts are underway to replace this combination with tin and silver as a solder. In shotgun shells, lead shots are slowly getting replaced with tin shots. Thus due to the positive environmental effects of tin, it is slowly replacing the harmful materials such as lead and graphite.