Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound made up of potassium, manganese and oxygen. It is a dark purple crystal-like solid and when dissolved in water it creates an intense purple solution. It is a stable compound, but can cause fire if it comes into contact with a combustible material. The following are some of the common uses for this chemical compound.
Uses of potassium permanganate
- Potassium permanganate is a very strong disinfectant and oxidant, which makes it a good candidate for water treatment. It is commonly used to reduce the levels iron and manganese as well as removing the hydrogen sulfide which causes a smell similar to rotten eggs. It is also used to inhibit the growth of water mollusks, such as the zebra mussel, in canals and lakes.
- It is also used in medicine as an antiseptic. It is most commonly used in the treatment of skin diseases like pompholyx, eczema, psoriasis and canker sores. It is also an effective treatment against fungal infections of the hands and feet, such as athletes foot.
- Another important use of potassium permanganate is in the synthesis of organic compounds such as ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C) and saccharin.
- It is often added to shipments of bananas to remove the ethylene, a plant hormone released by the banana during ripening, to extend the time it takes for the fruit to ripen. It can also be used to extend the life of cut flowers.
- Potassium permanganate is also added to many survival kits because it can be used for starting a fire, sterilizing water and to create an easy-to-read distress sign in the snow.
- It is also used to make film and television props and costumes look older than they actually are. It can create ancient looking rope, cloth, timber and glass.