Science Xplained: Napoleon's Buttons

A major wardrobe malfunction in December 1812 helped cause Napoleon's army of 600,000 to return from Russia with only 10,000 men. Up until that time, Napoleon's army was unbeaten. What happened? They had to fight the elements—the cold Russian winter as well as the element tin (Sn). Tin was a major ingredient in the buttons used to hold up the soldiers' pants. Tin changes from shiny metal to gray dust when the temperature drops, in this case, causing their clothing to drop as well. Check out this Science Xplained to learn more.