Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Question about potassium permanganate/reaction

  1. Apr 30, 2006 #1
    Before I present my problem, I would just like to introduce myself and my interest in combining unique chemicals and documenting their reactions. A friend has mentioned to me that in combining potassium permanganate and glycerin, a favorable reaction will occur.

    In my spare time I have decided to attempt this chemical composition for myself and see what reaction I would experience. There was no problem in finding glycerin, however, the only source of potassium permanganate that I could find was in a solution designed for backyard ponds. This solution, called "Poly-Ox", has a dark purple color to it and the bottle features a large warning label stating the solution contains potassium permanganate.

    With the idea of error in mind, I have attempted to use the "Poly-Ox" solution and see if I will be able to obtain a reaction inclusive of the other chemicals and ingredients. To no surprise, it did not work. Since the glycerin I am using is pure, it is safe to assume that the problem I am experiencing is with the Poly-Ox solution. I am curious to know if there is any method in which I can partake towards potentially seperating the potassium permanganate from the other substances. If this does not seem likely, any help regarding other ways of obtaining potassium permanganate will be appreciated, wheather it be from the "Poly-Ox" substance that I have now or wheather it be from buying something completly new.

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Potassium Permanganate is a very powerful oxidizer, so powerful, when it is mixed with glycerin, a sponteous and very exothermix reaction occurs.

    A video of glycerin reacting with KMnO4 crystals can be seen here,
    14KMnO4 + 4C3H5(OH)3 --> 7K2CO3 + 7Mn2O3 + 5CO2 + 16H2O

    My guess as to your problem is that you need solid KMnO4 for this to work, not a solution of KMnO4.
    You could try to evaporate off the water, crystalizing out the Potassium Permanganate and everything else in solution.
  4. Jun 21, 2006 #3
    KMnO4 is a very strong oxidizer, in turn should not be taken out of solution unless the solvent is identified. I had a jar of potassium permanganate in 2% solution, it came out of solution and implanted itself in the tape around the jar. I had to wrap it up and dipose of it carefully. You could try, BUT BE CAREFUL!!!
  5. Jun 22, 2006 #4
    As others have mentioned, you need solid KMnO4 for this reaction to occur. Boil down your solution until it is saturated. Cool it down until crystals precipitate out. Filter and dry the crystals. Powder your product with a mortal and pestel and then try the reaction.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook