Pyrophosphate complexation of Tin(II) in aqueous solutions as applied in electrolytes for the deposition of tin and tin alloys such as white bronze

Magnus R. Buchner, Florian Kraus, Hubert Schmidbaur

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Electrodeposition of tin and tin alloys from electrolytes containing tin(II) and pyrophosphates is an important process in metal finishing, but the nature of the tin pyrophosphate complexes present in these solutions in various pH regions has remained unknown. Through solubility and pH studies, IR and 31P and 119Sn NMR spectroscopic investigations of solutions obtained by dissolving Sn 2P 2O 7 in equimolar quantities of either Na 4P 2O 7· 10H 2O or K 4P 2O 7 the formation of anionic 1:1 complexes {[Sn(P 2O 7)]} n 2n- has now been verified and the molecular structures of the monomer (n = 1) and the dimer (n = 2) have been calculated by density functional theory (DFT) methods. Whereas the alkali pyrophosphates Na/K 4P 2O 7 give strongly alkaline aqueous solutions (pH ∼13), because of partial protonation of the [P 2O 7] 4- anion, the [Sn(P 2O 7)] 2- anion is not protonated and the solutions of Na/K 2[Sn(P 2O 7)] are almost neutral (pH ∼8). The monomeric dianion appears to have a ground state with C 2v symmetry with the Sn atom in a square pyramidal coordination and the lone pair of electrons in the apical position, while the dimer approaches C 2 symmetry with the Sn atoms in a rhombic pyramidal coordination, also with a sterically active lone pair. A comparison of experimental and calculated IR details favors the monomer as the most abundant species in solution. With an excess of pyrophosphate, 3:2 and 2:1 complexes (P 2O 7):(Sn) are first formed, which, in the presence of more pyrophosphate, undergo rapid ligand exchange on the NMR time scale. The structure of the 2:1 complex [Sn(P 2O 7) 2] 6- was calculated to have a pyramidal complexation by two 1,5-chelating pyrophosphate ligands. Neutralization of these alkaline solutions by sulfuric or sulfonic acids (H 2SO 4, MeSO 3H), as also practiced in electroplating, appears to afford the tin(II) hydrogen pyrophosphates [Sn(P 2O 7H)] - and [Sn(H 2P 2O 7)] 0. The molecular structures of the mononuclear model units have also been calculated and were shown to have an unsymmetrical complexation and to feature trigonal pyramidal (pseudotetrahedral) coordination. NMR observations have shown that, contrary to the results obtained for Sn II compounds, Sn IV as present in K 2SnO 3 or its hydrated form (K 2Sn(OH) 6) does not form a pyrophosphate complex in aqueous solution near pH 7. There is also no interference of sulfite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8860-8867
Number of pages8
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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