Manganese: the essentials

Manganese metal is gray-white, resembling iron, but is harder and very brittle. The metal is reactive chemically, and decomposes cold water slowly. Manganese is widely distributed throughout the animal kingdom. It is an important trace element and may be essential for utilisation of vitamin B. Manganese is present in quantity the floor of oceans. It is an important component of steel.

Image adapted with permission from Prof James Marshall's (U. North Texas, USA) Walking Tour of the elements CD.

Science and Ink cartoon for manganese
Cartoon by Nick D Kim ([Science and Ink], used by permission).

Manganese: historical information

Manganese was discovered by Johann Gahn in 1774 at Sweden. Origin of name: from the Latin word "magnes" meaning "magnet", or "magnesia nigri" meaning "black magnesia" (MnO2).

Manganese metal was isolated by Gahn in 1774. He reduced the dioxide (MnO2, as the mineral pyrolusite) with charcoal (essentially carbon) by heating and the result was a sample of the metal manganese.

Manganese around us Read more »

Manganese compounds are essential to life. They are essential for the action of some enzymes. Soil deficiencies lead to infertility in mammals and to bone malformation in growing chicks.

Manganese is not found as the free metal in nature, however manganese minerals consisting of oxides, silicates, and carbonates are the common. Most Manganese is obtained from ores in Australia, Brazil, Gabon, India, Russia, and South Africa. Manganese nodules on ocean floors holds contain about 24% manganese.

Abundances for manganese in a number of different environments. More abundance data »
Location ppb by weight ppb by atoms Links
Universe 8000 200 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the universe on a miniature periodic table spark table
Crustal rocks 1100000 420000 Chemical elements abundance by weight in the earth's crust on a miniature periodic table spark table
Human 200 ppb by weight 23 atoms relative to C = 1000000 Chemical elements abundance by weight in humans on a miniature periodic table spark table

Physical properties Read more »

Heat properties Read more »

Crystal structure Read more »

The solid state structure of manganese is: cubic.

Manganese: orbital properties Read more »

Manganese atoms have 25 electrons and the shell structure is The ground state electronic configuration of neutral Manganese is [Ar].3d5.4s2 and the term symbol of Manganese is 6S5/2.


Isolation: it is not normally necessary to make manganese in the laboratory as it is available commercially. Nearly all manganese produced commercially is used in the steel industry as ferromanganese. This made by the reduction of iron oxide, Fe2O3, and managanese dioxide, MnO2, in appropriate proportions with carbon (as coke) in a blast furnace. Pure manganese is available through the electrolysis of manganese sulphate, MnSO4,

Manganese isotopes Read more »

Table. Stables isotopes of manganese.
Isotope Mass
(atom %)
spin (I)
moment (μ/μN)
55Mn 54.9380471 (16) 100 5/2 3.4532

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