Tin(II) chloride

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Tin(II) chloride
Tin(II) chloride.jpg
Ball-and-stick model (gas phase).
Tin(II) chloride space-filling3D.png
Space-filling model (gas phase).
IUPAC names
Tin(II) chloride
Tin dichloride
Other names
  • Stannous chloride
  • Tin salt
  • Tin protochloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.028.971 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
EC Number
  • 231-868-0
E number E512 (acidity regulators, ...)
PubChem CID
RTECS number
  • XP8700000 (anhydrous)
    XP8850000 (dihydrate)
UN number 3260
  • InChI=1S/2ClH.Sn/h2*1H;/q;;+2/p-2 X mark.svgN
  • InChI=1/2ClH.Sn/h2*1H;/q;;+2/p-2
  • Cl[Sn]Cl
Molar mass 189.60 g/mol (anhydrous)
225.63 g/mol (dihydrate)
AppearanceWhite crystalline solid
Odor odorless
Density 3.95 g/cm3 (anhydrous)
2.71 g/cm3 (dihydrate)
Melting point 247 °C (477 °F; 520 K) (anhydrous)
37.7 °C (dihydrate)
Boiling point 623 °C (1,153 °F; 896 K) (decomposes)
83.9 g/100 ml (0 °C)
Hydrolyses in hot water
Solubility soluble in ethanol, acetone, ether, Tetrahydrofuran
insoluble in xylene
69.0·10−6 cm3/mol
Layer structure
(chains of SnCl3 groups)
Trigonal pyramidal (anhydrous)
Dihydrate also three-coordinate
Bent (gas phase)
325 kJ/mol
Occupational safety and health (OHS/OSH):
Main hazards
Irritant, dangerous for aquatic organisms
GHS labelling: [1]
GHS-pictogram-acid.svg GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg GHS-pictogram-silhouette.svg
H290, H302+H332, H314, H317, H335, H373, H412
P260, P273, P280, P303+P361+P353, P304+P340+P312, P305+P351+P338+P310
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
NFPA 704.svgHealth 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g. chlorine gasFlammability 0: Will not burn. E.g. waterInstability 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g. liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no code
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
700 mg/kg (rat, oral)
10,000 mg/kg (rabbit, oral)
250 mg/kg (mouse, oral) [2]
Safety data sheet (SDS) ICSC 0955 (anhydrous)
ICSC 0738 (dihydrate)
Related compounds
Other anions
Tin(II) fluoride
Tin(II) bromide
Tin(II) iodide
Other cations
Germanium dichloride
Tin(IV) chloride
Lead(II) chloride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
X mark.svgN  verify  (what is  Yes check.svgYX mark.svgN ?)

Tin(II) chloride, also known as stannous chloride, is a white crystalline solid with the formula Sn Cl 2. It forms a stable dihydrate, but aqueous solutions tend to undergo hydrolysis, particularly if hot. SnCl2 is widely used as a reducing agent (in acid solution), and in electrolytic baths for tin-plating. Tin(II) chloride should not be confused with the other chloride of tin; tin(IV) chloride or stannic chloride (SnCl4).


Chemical structure

SnCl2 has a lone pair of electrons, such that the molecule in the gas phase is bent. In the solid state, crystalline SnCl2 forms chains linked via chloride bridges as shown. The dihydrate has three coordinates as well, with one water on the tin and another water on the first. The main part of the molecule stacks into double layers in the crystal lattice, with the "second" water sandwiched between the layers.

Structures of tin(II) chloride and related compounds SnCl2 structure.svg
Structures of tin(II) chloride and related compounds
Ball-and-stick models of the crystal structure of SnCl2 Tin(II)-chloride-xtal-1996-3D-balls-front.png
Ball-and-stick models of the crystal structure of SnCl2

Chemical properties

Tin(II) chloride can dissolve in less than its own mass of water without apparent decomposition, but as the solution is diluted, hydrolysis occurs to form an insoluble basic salt:

SnCl2 (aq) + H2O (l) Sn(OH)Cl (s) + HCl (aq)

Therefore, if clear solutions of tin(II) chloride are to be used, it must be dissolved in hydrochloric acid (typically of the same or greater molarity as the stannous chloride) to maintain the equilibrium towards the left-hand side (using Le Chatelier's principle). Solutions of SnCl2 are also unstable towards oxidation by the air:

6 SnCl2 (aq) + O2 (g) + 2 H2O (l) → 2 SnCl4 (aq) + 4 Sn(OH)Cl (s)

This can be prevented by storing the solution over lumps of tin metal. [4]

There are many such cases where tin(II) chloride acts as a reducing agent, reducing silver and gold salts to the metal, and iron(III) salts to iron(II), for example:

SnCl2 (aq) + 2 FeCl3 (aq) → SnCl4 (aq) + 2 FeCl2 (aq)

It also reduces copper(II) to copper(I).

Solutions of tin(II) chloride can also serve simply as a source of Sn2+ ions, which can form other tin(II) compounds via precipitation reactions. For example, reaction with sodium sulfide produces the brown/black tin(II) sulfide:

SnCl2 (aq) + Na2S (aq) → SnS (s) + 2 NaCl (aq)

If alkali is added to a solution of SnCl2, a white precipitate of hydrated tin(II) oxide forms initially; this then dissolves in excess base to form a stannite salt such as sodium stannite:

SnCl2(aq) + 2 NaOH (aq) → SnO·H2O (s) + 2 NaCl (aq)
SnO·H2O (s) + NaOH (aq) → NaSn(OH)3 (aq)

Anhydrous SnCl2 can be used to make a variety of interesting tin(II) compounds in non-aqueous solvents. For example, the lithium salt of 4-methyl-2,6-di-tert-butylphenol reacts with SnCl2 in THF to give the yellow linear two-coordinate compound Sn(OAr)2 (Ar = aryl). [5]

Tin(II) chloride also behaves as a Lewis acid, forming complexes with ligands such as chloride ion, for example:

SnCl2 (aq) + CsCl (aq) → CsSnCl3 (aq)

Most of these complexes are pyramidal, and since complexes such as SnCl
have a full octet, there is little tendency to add more than one ligand. The lone pair of electrons in such complexes is available for bonding, however, and therefore the complex itself can act as a Lewis base or ligand. This seen in the ferrocene-related product of the following reaction:

SnCl2 + Fe(η5-C5H5)(CO)2HgCl → Fe(η5-C5H5)(CO)2SnCl3 + Hg

SnCl2 can be used to make a variety of such compounds containing metal-metal bonds. For example, the reaction with dicobalt octacarbonyl:

SnCl2 + Co2(CO)8 → (CO)4Co-(SnCl2)-Co(CO)4


Anhydrous SnCl2 is prepared by the action of dry hydrogen chloride gas on tin metal. The dihydrate is made by a similar reaction, using hydrochloric acid:

Sn (s) + 2 HCl (aq) → SnCl2 (aq) + H2 (g)

The water then carefully evaporated from the acidic solution to produce crystals of SnCl2·2H2O. This dihydrate can be dehydrated to anhydration using acetic anhydride. [6]


A solution of tin(II) chloride containing a little hydrochloric acid is used for the tin-plating of steel, in order to make tin cans. An electric potential is applied, and tin metal is formed at the cathode via electrolysis.

Tin(II) chloride is used as a mordant in textile dyeing because it gives brighter colours with some dyes e.g. cochineal. This mordant has also been used alone to increase the weight of silk.

In recent years, an increasing number of tooth paste brands have been adding Tin(II) chloride as protection against enamel erosion to their formula, e. g. Oral-B or Elmex.

It is used as a catalyst in the production of the plastic polylactic acid (PLA).

It also finds a use as a catalyst between acetone and hydrogen peroxide to form the tetrameric form of acetone peroxide.

Tin(II) chloride also finds wide use as a reducing agent. This is seen in its use for silvering mirrors, where silver metal is deposited on the glass:

Sn2+ (aq) + 2 Ag+ → Sn4+ (aq) + 2 Ag (s)

A related reduction was traditionally used as an analytical test for Hg 2+ (aq). For example, if SnCl2 is added dropwise into a solution of mercury(II) chloride, a white precipitate of mercury(I) chloride is first formed; as more SnCl2 is added this turns black as metallic mercury is formed. Stannous chloride can be used to test for the presence of gold compounds. SnCl2 turns bright purple in the presence of gold (see Purple of Cassius ).

When mercury is analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy, a cold vapor method must be used, and tin (II) chloride is typically used as the reductant.

In organic chemistry, SnCl2 is mainly used in the Stephen reduction, whereby a nitrile is reduced (via an imidoyl chloride salt) to an imine which is easily hydrolysed to an aldehyde. [7]

The reaction usually works best with aromatic nitriles Aryl-CN. A related reaction (called the Sonn-Müller method) starts with an amide, which is treated with PCl5 to form the imidoyl chloride salt.

The Stephen reduction SnCl2 Stephen reduction.png
The Stephen reduction

The Stephen reduction is less used today, because it has been mostly superseded by diisobutylaluminium hydride reduction.

Additionally, SnCl2 is used to selectively reduce aromatic nitro groups to anilines. [8]

Aromatic nitro group reduction using SnCl2 SnCl2 Nitro Reduction Scheme.png
Aromatic nitro group reduction using SnCl2

SnCl2 also reduces quinones to hydroquinones.

Stannous chloride is also added as a food additive with E number E512 to some canned and bottled foods, where it serves as a color-retention agent and antioxidant.

SnCl2 is used in radionuclide angiography to reduce the radioactive agent technetium-99m-pertechnetate to assist in binding to blood cells.

Aqueous stannous chloride is used by many precious metals refining hobbyists and professionals as an indicator of gold and platinum group metals in solutions. [9]

Molten SnCl2 can be oxidised to form highly crystalline SnO2 nanostructures. [10] [11]


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aqua regia</span> Mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid in a 1:3 molar ratio

Aqua regia is a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, optimally in a molar ratio of 1:3. Aqua regia is a fuming liquid. Freshly prepared aqua regia is colorless, but it turns yellow, orange or red within seconds from the formation of nitrosyl chloride and nitrogen dioxide. It was named by alchemists because it can dissolve noble metals like gold and platinum, though not all metals.

In chemistry, an amphoteric compound is a molecule or ion that can react both as an acid and as a base. What exactly this can mean depends on which definitions of acids and bases are being used.

Iron(III) chloride describes the inorganic compounds with the formula FeCl3(H2O)x. Also called ferric chloride, these compounds are some of the most important and commonplace compounds of iron. They are available both in anhydrous and in hydrated forms which are both hygroscopic. They feature iron in its +3 oxidation state. The anhydrous derivative is a Lewis acid, while all forms are mild oxidizing agents. It is used as a water cleaner and as an etchant for metals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zinc chloride</span> Chemical compound

Zinc chloride is the name of inorganic chemical compounds with the formula ZnCl2·nH2O, with x ranging from 0 to 4.5, forming hydrates. Zinc chloride, anhydrous and its hydrates are colorless or white crystalline solids, and are highly soluble in water. Five hydrates of zinc chloride are known, as well as four forms of anhydrous zinc chloride. This salt is hygroscopic and even deliquescent. Zinc chloride finds wide application in textile processing, metallurgical fluxes, and chemical synthesis. No mineral with this chemical composition is known aside from the very rare mineral simonkolleite, Zn5(OH)8Cl2·H2O.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanium tetrachloride</span> Inorganic chemical compound

Titanium tetrachloride is the inorganic compound with the formula TiCl4. It is an important intermediate in the production of titanium metal and the pigment titanium dioxide. TiCl4 is a volatile liquid. Upon contact with humid air, it forms thick clouds of titanium dioxide and hydrochloric acid, a reaction that was formerly exploited for use in smoke machines. It is sometimes referred to as “tickle” or “tickle 4”, as a phonetic representation of the symbols of its molecular formula.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lead(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Lead(II) chloride (PbCl2) is an inorganic compound which is a white solid under ambient conditions. It is poorly soluble in water. Lead(II) chloride is one of the most important lead-based reagents. It also occurs naturally in the form of the mineral cotunnite.

Tin(IV) chloride, also known as tin tetrachloride or stannic chloride, is an inorganic compound with the formula SnCl4. It is a colorless hygroscopic liquid, which fumes on contact with air. It is used as a precursor to other tin compounds. It was first discovered by Andreas Libavius (1550–1616) and was known as spiritus fumans libavii.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aluminium chloride</span> Chemical compound

Aluminium chloride, also known as aluminium trichloride, is an inorganic compound with the formula AlCl3. It forms a hexahydrate with the formula [Al(H2O)6]Cl3, containing six water molecules of hydration. Both the anhydrous form and the hexahydrate are colourless crystals, but samples are often contaminated with iron(III) chloride, giving them a yellow colour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manganese(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Manganese(II) chloride is the dichloride salt of manganese, MnCl2. This inorganic chemical exists in the anhydrous form, as well as the dihydrate (MnCl2·2H2O) and tetrahydrate (MnCl2·4H2O), with the tetrahydrate being the most common form. Like many Mn(II) species, these salts are pink, with the paleness of the color being characteristic of transition metal complexes with high spin d5 configurations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cobalt(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Cobalt(II) chloride is an inorganic compound, a salt of cobalt and chlorine, with the formula CoCl
. The compound forms several hydrates CoCl
, for n = 1, 2, 6, and 9. Claims of the formation of tri- and tetrahydrates have not been confirmed. The anhydrous form is a blue crystalline solid; the dihydrate is purple and the hexahydrate is pink. Commercial samples are usually the hexahydrate, which is one of the most commonly used cobalt salts in the lab.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copper(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Copper(II) chloride, also known as cupric chloride, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula CuCl2. The monoclinic yellowish-brown anhydrous form slowly absorbs moisture to form the orthorhombic blue-green dihydrate CuCl2·2H2O, with two water molecules of hydration. It is industrially produced for use as a co-catalyst in the Wacker process.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chromium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Chromium(III) chloride (also called chromic chloride) is an inorganic chemical compound with the chemical formula CrCl3. It forms several hydrates with the formula CrCl3·nH2O, among which are hydrates where n can be 5 (chromium(III) chloride pentahydrate CrCl3·5H2O) or 6 (chromium(III) chloride hexahydrate CrCl3·6H2O). The anhydrous compound with the formula CrCl3 are violet crystals, while the most common form of the chromium(III) chloride are the dark green crystals of hexahydrate, CrCl3·6H2O. Chromium chlorides find use as catalysts and as precursors to dyes for wool.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iron(II) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Iron(II) chloride, also known as ferrous chloride, is the chemical compound of formula FeCl2. It is a paramagnetic solid with a high melting point. The compound is white, but typical samples are often off-white. FeCl2 crystallizes from water as the greenish tetrahydrate, which is the form that is most commonly encountered in commerce and the laboratory. There is also a dihydrate. The compound is highly soluble in water, giving pale green solutions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organotin chemistry</span> Branch of organic chemistry

Organotin chemistry is the scientific study of the synthesis and properties of organotin compounds or stannanes, which are organometallic compounds containing tin–carbon bonds. The first organotin compound was diethyltin diiodide, discovered by Edward Frankland in 1849. The area grew rapidly in the 1900s, especially after the discovery of the Grignard reagents, which are useful for producing Sn–C bonds. The area remains rich with many applications in industry and continuing activity in the research laboratory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gold(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Gold(III) chloride, traditionally called auric chloride, is an inorganic compound of gold and chlorine with the molecular formula Au2Cl6. The "III" in the name indicates that the gold has an oxidation state of +3, typical for many gold compounds. It has two forms, the monohydrate (AuCl3·H2O) and the anhydrous form, which are both hygroscopic and light-sensitive solids. This compound is a dimer of AuCl3. This compound has a few uses, such as an oxidizing agent and for catalyzing various organic reactions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metal ammine complex</span>

In coordination chemistry, metal ammine complexes are metal complexes containing at least one ammonia ligand. "Ammine" is spelled this way for historical reasons; in contrast, alkyl or aryl bearing ligands are spelt with a single "m". Almost all metal ions bind ammonia as a ligand, but the most prevalent examples of ammine complexes are for Cr(III), Co(III), Ni(II), Cu(II) as well as several platinum group metals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bismuth chloride</span> Chemical compound

Bismuth chloride (or butter of bismuth) is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula BiCl3. It is a covalent compound and is the common source of the Bi3+ ion. In the gas phase and in the crystal, the species adopts a pyramidal structure, in accord with VSEPR theory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chloroauric acid</span> Chemical compound

Chloroauric acid is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula H[AuCl4]. It forms hydrates H[AuCl4nH2O. Both the trihydrate and tetrahydrate are known. Both are orange-yellow solids consisting of the planar [AuCl4] anion. Often chloroauric acid is handled as a solution, such as those obtained by dissolution of gold in aqua regia. These solutions can be converted to other gold complexes or reduced to metallic gold or gold nanoparticles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Germanium dichloride</span> Chemical compound

Germanium dichloride is a chemical compound of germanium and chlorine with the formula GeCl2. It is a yellow solid. Germanium dichloride is an example of a compound featuring germanium in the +2 oxidation state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metal halides</span>

Metal halides are compounds between metals and halogens. Some, such as sodium chloride are ionic, while others are covalently bonded. A few metal halides are discrete molecules, such as uranium hexafluoride, but most adopt polymeric structures, such as palladium chloride.


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  8. F. D. Bellamy & K. Ou (1984). "Selective reduction of aromatic nitro compounds with stannous chloride in non-acidic and non-aqueous medium". Tetrahedron Letters . 25 (8): 839–842. doi:10.1016/S0040-4039(01)80041-1.
  9. How To Make Stannous Chloride for Testing Gold Solutions , retrieved 2023-02-10
  10. Kamali, Ali; Divitini, Reza; Ducati, Giorgio; Fray, Caterina; J, Derek (2014). "Transformation of molten SnCl2 to SnO2 nano-single crystals". CERI Ceramics International. 40 (6): 8533–8538. doi:10.1016/j.ceramint.2014.01.067. ISSN   0272-8842. OCLC   5902254906.
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