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Are cans made of steel?? Answered

By cans, I mean canned food cans, not soda cans. From what I know, they are not aluminum because  a magnet stuck to one. And I don't think they are tin either. So what metal are they?


Jack A Lopez

Best Answer 2 years ago

If it is a food container, and it is disposable, and a magnet sticks to it, it is most likely made of steel.


There might be a thin layer of tin on it,


to protect the steel from the food in the can.

Or in place of the tin layer, there might be a layer of some kind of plastic, e.g. BPA


This type of can is commonly called a, "tin can"


However the phrase, "tin can", is really a misnomer.


A misnomer is a phrase that is technically incorrect, but still used in the language, because language is actually full of phrases that do not make sense, usually because it is a holdover from some earlier usage; e.g. we still use the word "dial" to describe the process of initiating a phone call, even though most phones haven't had a dial (a knob, or wheel, that turns) on them for forty years.


It's sort of the same thing with "tin cans", and people still call them that because a hundred years ago these cans used to be made of tinplate, steel plated with tin. Perhaps the word, "tinplate", got shortened to just, "tin", because that was easier to say.

Another common material misnomer is, "lead", found in pencils, the mechanical or the wooden kind. The black smudgy stuff in pencils is actually made of graphite mixed with clay, not lead, which is an element.


For some reason, the native inhabitants of the Former United States, used to be called "Indians", instead of Former... whatever their former nations used to be called, Former Sioux, Former Apache, Former Iroquois, etc. I'm not sure why people called them, "Indians", because they were definitely not from India. In any case, this was another example of a misnomer, except applied to people instead of things.


Jack A LopezMaker Saga

Answer 2 years ago

Maybe. Misnomers for common materials, like "tin cans" and "tin foil", have always kind of bothered me. Although, it probably bothered me more when I was younger. I've kind of become used to it by now.

It's just... It seems like the world would make more sense if the language made more sense.


2 years ago

Food cans are mostly steel.

They are called "tin cans" for historical reasons: they were first made wholly of tin, solder shut, then switched to cheaper/stronger steel. Steel reacts with the natural acids in many foods, so there was still a thin lining of tin (which is why you used to have to avoid dented cans - the tin lining cracked, and then both the steel & iron react with the food).

Modern food cans are still steel, but tend to be lined with a polymer instead of tin, which burns off during the recycling process..


2 years ago

Soda cans are aluminum. Food cans are lined steel with tin because of acids inherent in some foods and preservatives.