Make Potassium Permanganate (sort Of...)




About: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already online and we thought "we could do better".....

We make potassium permanganate from the potassium nitrate and manganese dioxide we obtained in previous videos.

Warning: This experiment deals with very high temperatures in glass equipment. Face shields and protection against shattering glass is required. In addition small quantities of toxic gases are produced. This experiment should be performed outside or in a fume hood.

Make a vial with a mixture of 7 grams of potassium nitrate and 1 gram of manganese dioxide.

Using a torch carefully heat the mixture so they melt together. Smoke and fumes should be liberated as the potassium nitrate oxidizes any contaminants in the manganese dioxide.

Keep the mixture molten for a few minutes.

Now add 2 grams of potassium hydroxide and heat the mixture again thoroughly. It will boil and turn green as the reactants generate potassium manganate. Keep it on a gentle boil for several minutes.

Let the vial cool and then smash it apart with a hammer. Obtain the green solid and pulverize it into a powder. Mix this powder with 50 mL of water and dissolve the green potassium manganate. Let it settle and then pour off the solution.

The solution can be converted to potassium permanganate by adding drops of either sulfuric acid or sodium bicarbonate. Just keep adding and stirring until the solution turns purple. If you go too far it will turn light pink indicating the permanganate has been destroyed.

Let the byproduct of brown manganese dioxide settle out and the liquid is a weak solution of potassium permanganate.

A demonstration you can do is to add the solution to another solution of half a gram of sugar and sodium hydroxide. The purple/red solution of permanganate will go to a green and then to a yellow color as the permanganate ion is reduced.

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    14 Discussions


    Reply 6 months ago

    Obviously not!
    You want to obtain POTASSIUM permanganate! Can you have it if you use Ammonium nitrate?!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Neato! Would you be able to use this for simple survival situations? Some uses i have heard about are:

    1. Purifying water
    2. Creating an antiseptic/anti-fungal/disinfectant solution.
    3. Marking snow as an emergency signal. (This seems pretty obviously yes as the coloration remains vivid)
    NurdRageMike sr

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    O_o o_O I was always under the impression that no one would ever in their life pay for something they can get for free. :) Not certain about the donations... to be honest i never really thought about it. I don't even know how to set up such a system if i were to accept them. I'll think about it some more and get back to you.

    The Ideanator

    10 years ago on Introduction

    i just wonder if someone could use this in a flash powder, is it pure enough?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I am 100% certain it's artificially altered, people just don't sound like this. It makes sense for him to conceal his identity; many governments do not approve of the public getting ahold of this sort of knowledge, they might become terrorists!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love your videos, but your voice has always bugged me - not that I dislike the voice, but I have been bothered by the fact I could never tell if you had a naturally deep voice, or if you were using audio editing/vox software (or hardware) to alter it. I am now 90% or so certain, based on the distortion of your chuckle in this video, about 2:23 or so, that this is not your natural voice. No real reason for posting this, other than I won't be bugged by that as much anymore. And to say, I love your videos (but I already said that, didn't I?)