Stannic oxide

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Tin (IV) oxide powder
Materialscientist at English Wikipedia


White powder that is often incorrectly called tin oxide. Stannic oxide, or tin dioxide, occurs in nature as the mineral Cassiterite. It is used as an abrasive, sometimes in mixtures with Lead oxide, for polishing Steel, Glass, Marble, Silver, and jewelry. Stannic oxide is also used as a Mordant for dyeing fabrics and as a weighting agent. Additionally, it is used as an opacifier in Glass and glazes to produce a translucent milky color. Tin dioxide reacts with chrome oxides to produce a ruby red color in glass and glazes. As a paint pigment, Tin white was also used in some watercolor paintings and manuscript illuminations until the early 17th century, but was discontinued because it can blacken in sunlight and when mixed with Lead white.

Synonyms and Related Terms

stannic anhydride; tin peroxide; tin dioxide; tin oxide (sp); tin (IV) oxide; stannic acid; putty powder; putty; jeweler's putty; white tin oxide; flowers of tin; polishing powder; tin ash


  • Noncombustible.
  • Contact may cause irritation.
  • Fisher Scientific: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in concentrated sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid. Insoluble in water.

Composition SnO or SnO2 - xH2O
CAS 18282-10-5
Mohs Hardness 6.0-7.0
Melting Point 1127 C
Density 6.6 - 6.9 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 150.71


Properties of Common Abrasives

Resources and Citations

  • Wikipedia: Tin(IV)oxide (accessed May 2023)
  • G.Wharton, S.Lansing, W.Ginell, "A Comparative Study of Silver Cleaning Abrasives" JAIC 29:13-31, 1990. LINK
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 810
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993 Comment: density=6.6-6.9
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Henry Hodges, Artifacts: An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology, Ronald P. Frye, Kingston, Canada, 1988
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 8933
  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979 Comment: hardness=6-7; density = 6.8-7.1