Potassium manganate is a chemical compound with the formula K2MnO4. It is dark bluish green and is only stable under alkaline conditions. In neutral or acidic conditions, it decomposes to form potassium permanganate, manganese dioxide, and potassium hydroxide.[1]
Potassium manganate

Potassium manganate solution



Potassium manganate, like potassium ferrate, is only stable in strongly alkaline conditions. In neutral or acidic solutions it decomposes according to the following equation:

3K2MnO4 + 2H2O --> 2KMnO4 + MnO2 + 4KOH

This reaction is often referred to as the chemical chameleon, and the reaction is a commonly demonstrated one.

Potassium manganate will react with soluble barium salts such as barium chloride to form insoluble barium manganate, a dark blue compound that used to be used (combined with barium sulfate) as a pigment.


K2MnO4 is a dark bluish green crystalline solid that is soluble in basic solutions. The exact figure for the solubility is currently unavailable, as it does not seem to be printed anywhere.


Potassium manganate can be made via fusion of potassium hydroxide and manganese dioxide and an oxidizer such as potassium nitrate. It is best to do this reaction in a stainless steel or nickel vessel, as the molten potassium hydroxide used will etch glass vessels, leading to extra impurities and ruining the container. The mixture must be heated enough for everything to melt and completely react before allowing it to cool, at which point the potassium manganate can be dissolved in a dilute potassium or sodium hydroxide solution.[2]

There will most likely be excess manganese dioxide left in the final product, which must be filtered out. Soluble impurities present may include potasssium nitrate and nitrite (if potassium nitrate is used as the oxidizer). Fractional crystallization may possibly be used to separate these compounds. (This is speculation however, as this is a work in progress)

Another way to synthesize K2MnO4 is by heating a mixture of KMnO4 and KOH in solution, followed by cooling to yield green crystals:

4 KMnO4 + 4 KOH → 4 K2MnO4 + O2 + 2 H2O[3]



Manganese compounds are toxic to ingest. Doing so can lead to manganism. Manganates are oxidizers. They should be kept away from combustible materials. The basic solutions that potassium manganate must be kept in can be caustic and damaging to the skin.


Personal experience handling and investigating manganates. -zts16

  3. Nyholm, R. S.; Woolliams, P. R. (1968). "Manganates(VI)". Inorg. Synth. Inorganic Syntheses 11: 56–61

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