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Manganese - Sources, Properties and Applications

Manganese (Mn) was identified as an element by researchers such as Scheele and Bergman, but it was not until 1774, when Gahn was able to isolate it by reducing manganese dioxide using carbon.

Sources of Manganese

Manganese-bearing minerals are quite common, with oxides, silicates and carbonates being the most common. Minerals such as Pyrolusite (MnO2) and Rhodochriste (MnCO3) rank amongst the most common manganese-bearing minerals. In addition to these sources, many large nodules of manganese (containing about 24% manganese) have been found on ocean floors and could provide another source of manganese.

The main sources of manganese come from the former U.S.S.R, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Gabon and India.

Production of Manganese

Manganese is most commonly produced by the reduction of the oxide with sodium, magnesium or aluminium. Alternatively it can be produced by electrolysis.

Forms of Manganese

Pure manganese exists in four different allotropes. Of these:

        The alpha phase is stable at room temperature.

        The gamma phase which transforms to the alpha phase at room temperature. It is characteristically flexible, soft, easy to cut and can be bent

Key Properties

        Manganese metal is a grey-white metal that resembles iron

        It is harder then iron, but very brittle

        It is chemically reactive

        It decomposes slowly in water

        Becomes ferromagnetic after suitable treatments

Key Applications

Manganese is an important alloying agent.

        In steels, manganese improves the rolling and forging qualities, as well as strength, toughness, stiffness, wear resistance, hardness and hardenability.

        In aluminium and antimony, manganese additions forms highly ferromagnetic compounds, especially in the presence of small amounts of copper.

It can also be used to produce an amethyst colour in glass

Manganese dioxide or pyrolusite is used for:

        To depolarise dry cells

        To decolourise green glass containing iron

        To prepare oxygen and chlorine

        To assist the drying of black paints

Manganese permanganate is a powerful oxidising agent used in:

        Quantitative analysis techniques





For more information on this source please visit The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.



  1. Sangram Mohanty Sangram Mohanty India says:

    If An excess of Mn oxide in the catalysts (Mn/Fe > 0.024) is Incorporation, Why it can lead to a significant decrease in FTS activity with no further improvement in C2–C4 olefin selectivity Carbon nanotube-supported Fe–Mn nanoparticles..?
    Can you give me the reasons.?

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