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Uses of Potassium Permanganate

Loveleena Rajeev Oct 23, 2018
Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound, more often known as a water-soluble salt. Read on to get more information about this compound and its uses.
In 1659, during a chemical experiment conducted by a German chemist called J.R. Glauber, potassium permanganate was first obtained by mixing minerals like pyrolusite and potassium carbonate.
It is also called Condy's crystal, as it was Henry Bollmann Condy (a chemist), who marketed several products, and patented the use of potassium salt in his solutions. The compound is produced from manganese dioxide for large-scale household and industrial uses. When it is in its purest form, the salt is in the form of a dark-purplish crystalline solid.
It can get dissolved in water, acetone, and sulfuric acid. The solid form melts at 240° C, and its molecular weight is 158.03. Being a potassium salt of permanganic acid, it is a strong oxidizing agent, and is used as an anti-infective and an antidote for some poisons.

Uses of KMnO4

Medicinal Uses

This inorganic compound is a mild, antibacterial disinfectant. It is used for the treatment of skin diseases such as mild pompholyx, eczema, psoriasis, and ulcers. Fungal infections like athlete's foot can also be effectively cured using this disinfectant.
It is also used for medical termination of pregnancy, although it can pose a health risk for women. It is also used to bleach melanin in animal and plant tissues.

Water Treatment

Potassium permanganate's strong oxidant and disinfectant properties are used to clean drinking water, water reservoirs, and pipes.
It helps to reduce levels of iron and manganese in potable H2O. When it is added to water, its ions convert themselves to hydroxides, and iron and manganese sinks to the bottom of the water holder. It also helps to reduce the chlorination disinfection byproducts in water.
It is used for treating musty odors and sulfur smells from drinking water. Many water bodies like lakes and canals are treated with this antibacterial disinfectant to inhibit growth of water mollusks, like mussels, oysters, clams, scallops, etc.

Industrial and Chemical Uses

Potassium permanganate is used for industrial cleaning, bleaching, and tanning. It is used as a chemical reagent in the process of producing compounds (synthesis) such as ascorbic and isonicotinic acid, chloramphenicol, saccharine, etc.
It is used for analyzing redox titration (volumetric analysis). It is used in this method because of its ability of being a strong oxidizing, as well as a reducing agent.
Titration is a process where an unknown concentration of measured amount is added to a known second solution, until the reaction between them is just complete. The concentration of the unknown solution or titer can then be calculated.
Many florists use potassium permanganate (salt) for extending the life of fresh-cut flowers. It is also added for its disinfectant properties, as they help to control algal spread in water.
Although, it is widely used, its application is highly cautioned. It is highly toxic if swallowed, and is known to cause internal bleeding and even death. In direct contact, it can burn the skin. Therefore, it is best to use protective gloves when handling the compound.