What is potassium permanganate?

Potassium permanganate

Within nature it is possible to find a great variety of substances and elements that are always in interaction , a process that involves some type of chemical reaction. These reactions are well known and occur when a certain element loses electrons and when it interacts with oxygen . An example of this process is potassium permanganate.

Potassium permanganate |  What is it, characteristics, structure, properties, formulaWhat is potassium permanganate?

The potassium permanganate is a type of chemical compound that is formed by the combination that between the potassium ions and permanganate with a certain ratio with a set structure.

  • Potassium permanganate characteristics
  • History
  • Structure
  • Potassium permanganate formula
  • Nomenclature
  • Physical properties
  • Chemical properties
  • Obtaining
  • Applications
  • Potassium permanganate benefits
  • Risks

Potassium permanganate characteristics

Among the most important characteristics that can be found in potassium permanganate, the following are mentioned:

  • It is a type of inorganic compound .
  • It is a manganese compound .
  • It is also known by the name of Condy’s crystal or as chameleon minerals.
  • It can be used in a large number of different applications .
  • It is considered to be a fairly powerful oxidizing agent .
  • In the market it can be found in liquid or solid form .
  • It is not a flammable product but it does have the ability to be highly corrosive.
  • Despite not being flammable by itself, when it is in the presence of certain substances it can produce different types of violent and explosive reactions .


Potassium permanganate was first developed in 1857 and at that time it was used as a type of disinfectant . From then on it began to be used to treat different skin conditions including infections caused by fungi.


The structure of potassium permanganate is crystalline and is also of the orthorhombic type . It can be found positive cations of potassium and in the tetrahedron can find the anion MnO4-. Its geometry is of the tetrahedral type and has double bonds between manganate and oxygen through a metallic center which has an sp3 hybridization .

Potassium permanganate formula

Its molecular formula is KMnO4 .


Its nomenclature is as follows:

  • Traditional Nomenclature: Potassium Permanganate
  • Stock Nomenclature: Potassium Permanganate
  • Systematic Nomenclature: Potassium Tetraoxomanganate (VII)

Physical properties

Its main physical properties are mentioned below:

  • Its flavor is of a sweet astringent type .
  • It does not have any type of smell .
  • It is soluble in the presence of water and when mixed with it can form pink and dark purple solutions.
  • Its melting point is 240º centigrade.
  • It has a specific gravity in water of 2703.
  • Its air vapor density is 5.4.

Chemical properties

Some of its main chemical properties are the following:

  • You can reach decomposing when you find one with a temperature of 240 degrees Celsius and when that happens, you have the ability to oxygen release by increasing the temperature as produces a reaction of exothermic type.
  • It is considered a fairly stable substance when it is in normal conditions and well stored.
  • Potassium permanganate is a fairly strong oxidant and when it comes into contact with some materials , toxic metal vapors can cause fires .
  • When it comes into contact with oxidizable substances it generates a combustion reaction which can become extremely violent .
  • It has the ability to act as an initiation source for explosions or vapors.


Regarding its production, potassium permanganate can be produced and obtained from continuous fusion through electrolysis that occurs in minerals containing manganese oxide . Raw materials are used to obtain it, mainly pyrolusite mineral . As for the industrial preparation, it begins with the alkaline oxidation process of the mineral containing manganese, later the potassium manganate is converted into potassium permanganate through anodic oxidation.

This anodic oxidation of manganese must be carried out by means of electrolysis . After this process and obtaining the permanganate, the fusion process is carried out, which must first be leached in a potassium hydroxide solution . The leachate that results from this process is filtered to separate the insoluble mineral particles.


Some of the most common uses for potassium permanganate are as follows:

  • It is used as an oxidizing agent in different chemical reactions that occur in laboratories and in the field of industry .
  • It is used to treat some types of parasitic diseases and as a treatment for skin fungi and dermatoses .
  • It turns out to be an effective remedy against some poisonings produced with poisons and snake bites.
  • It helps to eliminate bacteria , fungi and microorganisms that may try to interfere with the proper healing of a wound.
  • Collaborate in the water purification process .

Potassium permanganate benefits

Apart from all the uses that potassium permanganate has, it turns out to be very effective in the medical field for the preparation of gastric lavage when poisoning occurs and also when snake bites occur . Thanks to its great antiseptic , deodorant and astringent properties , it is widely used in the field of Dermatology to treat some types of skin diseases such as fungi and dermatosis.

It is also used by municipal authorities to eliminate the different impurities that occur in water for public consumption as it is one of the best means to purify it, dilute correctly the potassium permanganate reduces the amount of organic matter already found in the water and with this it is possible to reduce the infections that can be caused by fish .

It is also beneficial because it has the ability to neutralize odors and flavors , oxidizes bacteria and prevents the reproduction of residues found in drinking water, for this reason it is beneficial to reduce the levels of fungi and oxides that are also found in water. food .


Potassium permanganate has several health risks and effects and is harmful when ingested. When inhaled it can cause the respiratory tract to become irritated producing coughing, breathing problems and pulmonary edema . On contact with the eyes , severe irritation can occur , vision becomes blurred, and damage is usually severe and permanent .

On the skin , its dry crystals cause redness , a lot of pain , burns that can be large or large, brown spots at the place of contact and on the skin causes the outer layer to harden. The ingest substances with sodium permanganate in high concentrations causes a serious discomfort throughout the system gastrointestinal including burns, inflammation, falling blood pressure, decreased heart rate and can be fatal .

The concentrations up to 1% may cause burns in the throat , vomiting and pains abs. As for chronic exposure, it can lead to poisoning, which will cause the deterioration of the entire central nervous system . This product.

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