Manganese - Mn
Manganese is a pinkinsh-gray, chemically active element. It is a hard metal and is very brittle. It is hard to melt, but easily oxidized. Manganese is reactive when pure, and as a powder it will burn in oxygen, it reacts with water (it rusts like iron) and dissolves in dilute acids.
Manganese is essential to iron and steel production. At present steel making accounts 85% to 90% of the total demand, most of the total demand. Manganese is a key component of low-cost stainless steel formulations and certain widely used alumimum alloys. Manganese dioxide is also used as a catalyst. Manganese is used to decolorize glass and make violet coloured glass. Potassium permanganate is a potent oxidizer and used as a disinfectant. Other compound that find application are Manganese oxide (MnO) and manganese carbonate (MnCO3): the first goes into fertilizers and ceramics, the second is the starting material for making other manganese compounds.
Manganese in the environment
Manganese is one of the most abundant metals in soils, where it occurs as oxides and hydroxides, and it cycles through its various oxidation states. Manganese occurs principally as pyrolusite (MnO2), and to a lesser extent as rhodochrosite (MnCO3). More than 25 million tonnes are mined every year, representing 5 million tons of the metal, and reserves are estimated to exeed 3 billion tonnes of the metal. The main mining areas for manganese ores are South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Gabon and Australia.