Potassium permanganate

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Infobox on Potassium permanganate
Example of Potassium permanganate
Potassium permanganate.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) 1,08 m3/t (in drums)
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Potassium permanganate


Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula KMnO4. It is a salt consisting of K+ and MnO−4 ions. Formerly known as permanganate of potash or Condy's crystals, it is a strong oxidizing agent. It dissolves in water to give intensely pink or purple solutions, the evaporation of which leaves prismatic purplish-black glistening crystals. In 2000, worldwide production was estimated at 30,000 tonnes. In this compound, manganese is in the +7 oxidation state.

Potassium permanganate is produced industrially from manganese dioxide, which also occurs as the mineral pyrolusite. The MnO2 is fused with Potassium Hydroxide and heated in air or with a source of oxygen, like Potassium Nitrate or chlorate. This process gives potassium manganate, which upon electrolytic oxidation in alkaline media, or by boiling the manganate solution in the presence of carbon dioxide until all the green colour is discharged, gives potassium permanganate.

Properties; Dark purple crystals with blue metallic sheen; sweetish, astringent taste; odourless. Soluble in water, acetone and methanol.


Oxidizer, disinfectant, deodorizer, bleach, dye, tanning, radioactive, decontamination of skin, reagent in analytical chemistry, medicine (antiseptic), manufacture of organic chemicals, air and water purification.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Dark purple crystals or powder. Soluble in water. Reacts vigorously with sulphuric acid and Hydrogen Peroxide. Reacts fiercely with cyanides when heated or by friction. May form explosive mixtures with combustible material, powdered metals or ammonium compounds. These mixtures are sensitive to friction and are liable to ignite. When involved in a fire may cause an explosion.

Potassium permanganate is a dangerous fire and explosion risk in contact with organic materials; powerful oxidizing agent.

Potassium permanganate crystals and concentrated solutions are caustic and can burn the skin. Even fairly dilute solutions can irritate skin and repeated use may cause burns.. When preparing solutions make sure that the crystals or tablets are fully dissolved in water before using.

Note: For overseas carriage aspects of Chemicals, the readers are recommended to acquire or have access to a good chemical dictionary, and a copy of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, issued by the International Maritime Organisation. Also consult the applicable MSDS sheet.