Manganese is a metal that is atomic number 25 on the periodic table with the element symbol Mn. Here’s a collection of interesting and useful manganese facts, including its history, properties, uses, and atomic data.
Interesting Manganese Facts
- Manganese exists in native form (free in nature), but it’s more commonly found in the minerals pyrolusite and rhodochrosite. It’s often found with iron. Manganese nodules occur on the ocean floor that are about 24% manganese.
- Mn is the 12th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, accounting for 0.1% of its weight (360 parts per million). Its abundance in the solar system is 10 parts per million, by weight. The average person has 10-20 mg of manganese, with about 25% in bones and the rest evenly distributed throughout the body.
- The name “manganese” comes from the Latin word magnes, which means magnet. This refers to the magnetic properties of the magnesium oxide mineral pyrolusite. Manganese also derives from the Italian word manganese, which is a corrupt form of the word magnesia.
- Manganese is usually paramagnetic (not magnetic), but special treatment can cause it to become ferromagnetic.
- Pure manganese is a transition metal that looks much like iron, although a bit more gray. It is harder than iron and extremely brittle. Like other transition metals, manganese is chemically reactive. It resists corrosion, but slowly decomposes in water.
- The first scientist to isolate manganese from the ore pyrolusite (manganese dioxide) was Johann Gottlieb Gahn in 1774. He obtained the pure metal by reducing manganese dioxide with carbon. Before its purification, manganese had been recognized as a new element by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Torber Olof Bergman, and other scientists.
- Manganese dioxide was used as a pigment by ancient man. Cave paintings found in Lascaux, France dating back 16,000 years feature black images made using the compound. There’s evidence the black pigment may have been used as a cosmetic by Neanderthals 50,000 years ago.
- Around 90% of manganese that is mined is used in the production of steel, where it improves the strength, stiffness, and resistance of the metal. Manganese is also used in pigments, to add a purple color to clear glass, and to decolorize green glass. Manganese is alloyed with aluminum. It’s also used to produce ferromagnetic alloys. Organo-manganese compounds may be added to gasoline to increase its octane rating.
- Manganese is responsible for the characteristic violet color of the gemstone amethyst.
- Manganese is non-toxic in small amounts, although inhaling its dust can cause harmful effects. Over-exposure to manganese or manganese dioxide causes a condition called manganism, which causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. Its an essential trace mineral in nutrition, since manganese is needed for mitochondria to function in plant and animal cells. In humans, it’s also needed for our bodies to use vitamin B1. Manganese is essential for plants to perform photosynthesis.
- Manganese is found in four allotropic forms. The alpha form is stable at normal temperatures. The gamma form is soft and can be cut. The gamma form changes into the alpha form under ordinary temperature and pressure conditions.
- Like other transition metals, manganese displays multiple oxidation states. The most stable state is +2 (pale pink in water), although +4 (black or brown), +7 (purple), and +6 (green) are also common.
- Natural manganese consists of one stable isotope, manganese-55. At least 21 isotopes have been produced, with mass numbers from 46 to 66.
Manganese Atomic Data
|Group||Group 7, d-block (transition metal)|
|Electron Configuration||[Ar] 3d5 4s2|
|Melting Point||1519 K (1246 °C, 2275 °F)|
|Boiling Point||2334 K (2061 °C, 3742 °F)|
|Density (near room temperature)||7.21 g/cm3|
|Oxidation States||7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, −1, −2, −3|
|Crystal Structure||body-centered cubic|