Tin dendrite

Real time metal crystal growing

Scientific name: Tin crystal growing during electrolysis of tin (II) chloride solution


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Reduction of Tin(II) Chloride in Aqueous Solution

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Tin(II) chloride is moderately toxic. Avoid contacting it with your eyes and skin. Wears safety goggles and chemical-resistant gloves.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Perform this experiment

Reaction formula

2Sn2+ + 2H2O →↯→ Sn4+ + Sn + O2 + 4H+


  1. Tin(II) chloride

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Take a flat dish like a glass Petri dish
  2. Pour filtered tin (II) chloride solution (10-20g of SnCl2 in 100mL of water) just to cover the bottom of the dish
  3. Place two electrodes from 9V battery into the dish
  4. Tin crystals will start to grow on the cathode and you will be able to see tin crystall grawing in real time

Scientific background

Why does the tin dendrite grow?

By attaching the crocodile clips to the Petri dish edges we connect the tin(II) chloride (SnCl2) solution to the batteries. Once connected, the electric current starts to flow through the solution. Near to one of the clips, a tin reduction reaction takes place:

Sn2+ (solution) + 2e- → Sn(solid)

Tin is a metal that precipitates (forms a solid) as solid, elemental tin. The tin dendrite grows in the direction that the electric current flows through the solution; from one clip towards the other.


Published on 08 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst