Potassium permanganate

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Potassium permanganate

Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) is an inorganic chemical compound composed of potassium (K+) and permanganate (MnO4-) ions. Its IUPAC name is potassium manganate(VII) because its manganese (Mn) atom is in the +7 oxidation state. It is also known as "permanganate of potash", "Potassium Salt" and "Condy's crystals". The permanganate acts as a strong oxidizing agent. The molecular weight of potassium permanganate is 158.04 g/mol. As a solid, it forms deep purple prisms. It is purple when dissolved in an aqueous solution. It has a sweet taste and is odorless.



Potassium permanganate was discovered in 1659.

Early photographers used it as a component of flash powder.


Potassium permanganate is used as an oxidizing agent in many different kinds of chemical reactions in a laboratory and in industry. It is also used as a disinfectant and in deodorizers and dyes. It is used to treat some parasitic diseases of fish, and used in treatment of drinking water, as well as an antidote in phosphorus poisoning. It can be used as a reagent for the synthesis of many different kinds of chemical compounds. For example, a dilute solution of KMnO4 can convert an organic compound with a carbon-carbon double bond into a diol (glycol) compound. Stronger permanganate solutions can oxidize a methyl group on an aromatic ring to a carboxyl group. It has also been used to make cocaine 100% pure. In analytical chemistry, a standardized aqueous solution of KMnO4 is sometimes used as an oxidizing titrant for redox titrations due to its deep purple color. Deep purple-colored permanganate can be reduced to a light pink Mn+2 cation in an acidic solution, where Mn is in a +2 oxidation state. In an alkaline solution, permanganate can be reduced to MnO2, a brown precipitate in which Mn is in a +4 oxidation state.

An aqueous solution of potassium permanganate can be mixed with an aqueous solution of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride to produce methcathinone.

In a diluted solution, it can be used as a mouthwash (1/4%), or to disinfect the hands (1%).

When mixed with water, it is can also be used as a catalyst with T-Stoff for rocket propulsion. In this usage, it is known as Z-Stoff.

It is used as a reagent to determine the Kappa number of wood pulp.


Solid KMnO4 is a very strong oxidizer, which when mixed with pure glycerine, will cause a highly exothermic chemical reaction to take place. This reaction would turn red hot as a spontaneous "combustion" which would melt a glass or other container holding the reacting contents and could ignite anything flammable nearby. A reaction of this sort could take place when solid KMnO4 is mixed with many kinds of organic materials. Aqueous solutions of KMnO4 are much less dangerous, especially when diluted. Mixing solid KMnO4 with concentrated sulfuric acid forms Mn2O7 which causes an explosion.[1]

Potassium permanganate stains the hand and clothing and should be handled with care. Clothing stains may be washed away using acetic acid or hydrochloric acid. Skin stains go off within 48 hours. It causes corrosive burns on the skin, while swallowing it may lead to gastroenteritis. In addition, mixing solid KMnO4 with concentrated hydrochloric acid generates lethal chlorine gas [1] (http://www.ucc.ie/ucc/depts/chem/dolchem/html/elem/elem017.html).

The DEA has restricted its use and sale. Moreover, potassium permanganate is listed as a Table I precursor under the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances[2] (http://www.incb.org/pdf/e/list/red.pdf).


  1. F. A. Cotton, G. Wilkinson, C. A. Murillo, and M. Bochmann (April 1999). Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, 6th Edition. Wiley-VCH. ISBN0-471-19957-5de:Kaliumpermanganat

it:Permanganato di potassio pl:Nadmanganian potasu ru:Калия перманганат fi:Kaliumpermanganaatti zh:高锰酸钾 ja:過マンガン酸カリウム


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