Tin is a silver-white metal that is soft, ductile and malleable. Due to this flexibility, tin can be molded and stretched into a variety of shapes without cracking. Tin is also considered to be non-toxic, conductive and resistant to corrosion. These physical attributes make the use of tin plating very prevalent in the food processing, electronics and shipping industries.
Many manufacturers of large electrical components use tin as a shield for the metals that lie beneath the plated layer. Copper, for instance, has a natural tendency to oxidize and erode when exposed to the environment. A thin layer of tin on the surface can inhibit oxidation and extend the life expectancy of these large components.
Tin does more than just shield other metals. As a soft metal it also provides a good, clean, low constriction-resistance contact surface. In other words, tin creates an optimal surface for conducting electrical currents.