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Elements for Kids

Manganese

The element manganese

  • Symbol: Mn
  • Atomic Number: 25
  • Atomic Weight: 54.938
  • Classification: Transition metal
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 7.21 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 1246°C, 2275°F
  • Boiling Point: 2061°C, 3742°F
  • Discovered by: Johan G. Gahn in 1774
Manganese is the first element in the seventh column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition metal. Manganese atoms have 25 electrons and 25 protons with 30 neutrons in the most abundant isotope.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions manganese is a solid metal with a silvery-gray color. In many ways manganese resembles iron, which is the element next to it in the periodic table. In its pure form, it is so brittle that it can't be machined without breaking.

Pure manganese can have a shiny surface, but tarnishes when exposed to air. It will also slowly rust or decompose when coming into contact with water.

Manganese is a fairly active element and can form a number of oxidation states. The most stable is +2.

Where is manganese found on Earth?

Manganese is mostly found in the Earth's crust where it is the twelfth most abundant element. It is found in a number of minerals and ores such as pyrolusite, bruanite, and psilomelane. Trace amounts are found in ocean water as well as in the atmosphere.

Most of the world's manganese is found in South Africa and Australia. The most important ore that is mined is pyrolusite.

A fair amount of manganese is also expected to exist on the ocean floor. However, it has been impractical and too expensive to harvest this manganese.

How is manganese used today?

The majority of manganese that is produced by industry is for the production of metal alloys. It is used widely in steel including very strong steel and in making stainless steel. It is also used in aluminum alloys, primarily in beverage cans where it increases the resistance against corrosion and helps with the stiffness.

Other applications include batteries, as an additive in gasoline, a pigment in paint, and as coloring in ceramics and glass.

Manganese plays an important role in biological life. It is used by a number of enzymes. In the human body it is important for strong bones as well as liver and kidney functioning. It is also important for the process of photosynthesis in plants.

How was it discovered?

The first scientist to isolate the element manganese was Swedish chemist Johan G. Gahn in 1774. Other scientists had known of the existence of the element prior to this, but none had been able to isolate it.

Where did manganese get its name?

The name comes from the Latin word "magnes", which means magnet. It gets this name because its compounds are used in making glass. Don't get confused though, despite its name, manganese is not magnetic.

Isotopes

Manganese has one stable isotope in nature, manganese-55.

Interesting Facts about Manganese


More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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