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Time-Lapse Video of “Tin Pest”: Tin Goes From White to Crumbly, Fast

In the Kurt Vonnegut novel Ice-9, there’s a more stable polymorph of water which freezes at a much higher temperature than regular water. And when it comes into contact with regular water, it turns it into Ice-9. As you can imagine, this quickly leads to trouble of the ‘freezing all of the world’s oceans’ variety.

Something kinda sorta similar is happening in the video above. While it doesn’t destroy life as we know it, tin transforms from a white, metallic beta allotrope to a crumbly alpha allotrope when it gets cold (below 13 degrees Celsius): this is known as “tin pest.” The new alpha tin then effectively helps convert the beta into more alpha. So it goes.

(h/t MAKE)

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