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Is it possible to prevent the chemical reaction that occurs when a tin is boiled in an aluminium pot?

When a tin is boiled in an aluminium pot a chemical reaction takes place that creates a grey film in the pot. This can be removed with some very vigorous scrubbing with steel wool - it takes hours! Can the chemical reaction be prevented or is there another reaction that can be created that will remove the grey film?

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jones_ins7 years ago
Put the tin in a plastic bag
Dr.Bill8 years ago
A vinegar boiling bath works for me. Makes it look like new. Ain't ionic transfer cool?
djmachet8 years ago
I think its because they linked ingestion of aluminium from cooking to some cases of alzheimers that its been outlawed in some countries - although I'm fortunate to stay in South Africa and we can still buy lovely heart aluminium pots (woohoo oldage here i come)... its a curious question, I suppose the best solution would be to use a different pot like you've mentioned although perhaps you could do some experiments with some deionised water avoiding direct contact (and if it works you could keep it in a container and reuse it). Oh this is all a thumb suck
dskea (author)  djmachet8 years ago
thank you for your comment. Yes, I have put a new stainless steel pot on my wish list!
fwjs288 years ago
err...call me crazy, but can't you use a pot now made with aluminum?....that would definitely stop the grey film....
dskea (author)  fwjs288 years ago
thank you for your comment. Yes, I have put a new stainless steel pot on my wish list!
sillyskiny8 years ago
you could try using a sacrificial metal and place it in your pot however, since aluminium is quite high up the reactiity series it would seem quite tough to do that seeing as other than magnesium all other metals react with water. WOulnt it be easier to use a copper pot especially seeing as you dont need anything else. just boil away
dskea (author)  sillyskiny8 years ago
thank you for your comment. Yes, I have put a new stainless steel pot on my wish list!!
110100101108 years ago
put the tin and the pot so that they dont make direct contact connect few volts DC to them while boiling. try both possible directions of + and - maybe in one direction there will be much more and in the other much less reaction
dskea (author)  110100101108 years ago
thank you for your comment. I'll try the non-contact method first as I wouldn't be confident with connecting volts to a tin inside a pot of water - it makes sense though - a bit like reverse electro-plating!.
Whatnot8 years ago
I'm no chemist so I can't say how, but obviously it MUST be possible to create conditions where the ion reaction is defeated, either electrically or chemically so it's a good question, kudos for asking it. What I wonder though is what do you need to boil tin in an aluminium pot for? And another q. is: do you realise that aluminium pots are not to be used for cooking food, since ingesting aluminium from food prepared in them over longer periods was found to cause braindamage/disease and because of that it's outlawed to sell bare aluminium pans in many countries (just a friendly notice).
dskea (author)  Whatnot8 years ago
thank you for your comment. When the GFC abates I'll buy a gorgeous stainless steel pot - 22 litres in capacity, as it's primary role in my kitchen is the boiling of the plum puddings!!!