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Potassium Permanganate - Printable Version

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Potassium Permanganate - ratel102 - 10-21-2018

After all these years I thought I may as well get back on the board and post something of possible use.

As an actual Comical Engineer I thought may as well start with Potassium Permanganate. It's a chemical with several excellent uses.   It's chemical formula is KMnO4. It is also known as 'Condy’s Crystals' or 'permanganate of potash'.   

Let me start by saying DO NOT handle crystals it with your fingers, or splash strong solutions on your hands - it will stain them brown. If it can be done, I've done it......  Ideally, Potassium Permanganate should be stored in a nonreactive plastic bottle with a Teflon coated cap. Most plastic bottles and non-coated caps should be fine.  

1.   It is superb for making fires when mixed with either Glycerin, or antifreeze (which is Ethylene Glycol) or Glycol-Ether based brake fluids....Place a teaspoon of Potassium Permanganate on a flat surface and carefully add the same amount of Glycerin. Here's a video showing one way of doing it; pouring the the glycerin through the kindling and onto the permanganate: KMnO4 and Glycerin.   A similar, but usually slower, reaction to that shown in the video will be obtained with either antifreeze or brake fluid.
Key comments:
  • The reaction usually takes a few seconds to initiate. Give it the time needed; stay back and get ready to add kindling & wood. 
  • Once you start to see fumes (smoke) you need to be sure you're a a few feet away.
  • FWIW, "Pre-wrapped' Glycerins are sold as suppositories!

If you mix sugar with the Glycerin before adding the permanganate, you’ll get decent signal smoke.  

Due to its deep violet color, Strong potassium permanganate solution can be used to stain snow if you need to leave an emergency signal....

2.  For water purification, its use is relatively straightforward. It goes without saying that if there is any sediment in the water, strain it out. Then add 3 – 4 crystals per liter of water. Stir or shake for a few seconds then let sit for 2 hours. Some sources say 20 minutes is enough. I always prefer erring on the side of caution. The drinking water should be a light pink.  Here is a video that shows the amount of permanganate to add and the color it gives to clear waterWATCH THE VIDEO! Notice just how LITTLE permanganate is needed for drinking water.
  • Permanganate is currently used to treat organic matter in drinking water and to prevent iron bacteria growth in wells.
  • It's worth noting that studies, from “The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics”, have shown that at a dilution of 1:10,000 (potassium permanganate to water) kills most bacteria within an hour. That is 1 gram Peroxide in 10 liters - or a tiny bit under 1 oz in 80 gallons.  
  • AND JUST FOR THE RECORD: As with most things,Potassium Permanganate can become toxic in HIGH concentrations. So just how much is too much? The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) Gives the LD50 (median lethal dose - the amount required  to kill 50% of the test population) for rats as 1090 mg per kilogram of body weight.  That would be equivalent to 2.7 ounces for a 155 pound person.
  • Personally, I have always used re-sublimated iodine to purify my drinking water when backpacking (see Ron's video on this). For comparison, the LD50 for Iodine is 315 mg per kilogram (for rats)

3.  As an antiseptic for cleaning wounds, and as an antifungal, refer again to the third drinking glass in video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU5WkkhOxxM. A quote from technology.org,: 

Quote:"Potassium permanganate is also extensively used for medical purposes including as an antiseptic and fungicide. Apart from that, it is also used for the treatment of various skin infections such as eczema, dermatitis, acne and other fungal infections caused in hands and legs.  Further people suffering from wounds with pus, oozing and blisters are subjected to a potassium permanganate bath. Additionally it should also be made sure that the solution is dilute. Other than that, it is also used as an acute solution for the treatment of fungal infections like athlete’s foot, where the affected foot is soaked in a potassium permanganate solution in water for about 15 minutes.

P.S.  For many decades I have carried a key chain sized Magnesium,  Ferrocerium striker and drilled & rounded 2" length of hacksaw blade. The magnesium bar is 2-1/2 inches long and a quarter of an inch thick. 



RE: Potassium Permanganate - thatmckenzie - 10-21-2018

Topical information! Thank you for sharing. Smile


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Jimbo - 10-21-2018

(10-21-2018, 04:21 AM)thatmckenzie Wrote: Topical information! Thank you for sharing. Smile
Second that!


RE: Potassium Permanganate - randyt - 10-23-2018

awesome, another use is as a dye for popping out the figure on striped maple, particularly for kentucky long rifles and such.


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Adapt-Overcome-Conquer - 10-24-2018

Yes thanks!

Excellent info...

I knew about the drinking water purification and the fire starting with glycerin but did not know of the antifungal properties!


AOC


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Tn Ridge Rover - 10-25-2018

Which bugs does PP kill?

Good idea about the pill containers. Am putting together some kits now, pill containers will be added.


RE: Potassium Permanganate - ratel102 - 10-26-2018

I completely forgot to add permanganate and sugar as a fire starter.  With these two you need some friction, but it's an easy reaction to initiate. Here the guy uses a piece of wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z_2xlCLa9A

Here's one that shows how little friction is needed; the guy uses the bottom of a spoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTsN_uKi30Ehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTsN_uKi30E


RE: Potassium Permanganate - wmerrin - 10-26-2018

A couple hundred years ago in high school chemistry we mixed potassium permanganate with another granular solid in a test tube, corked with a one-hole cork and glass tubing and heated over a Bunsen burner to liberate free oxygen. I have not been able to remember what the second chemical was... any suggestions?

Wally


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Tn Ridge Rover - 10-27-2018

(10-26-2018, 05:35 PM)ratel102 Wrote: I completely forgot to add permanganate and sugar as a fire starter.  With these two you need some friction, but it's an easy reaction to initiate. Here the guy uses a piece of wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z_2xlCLa9A

Here's one that shows how little friction is needed; the guy uses the bottom of a spoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTsN_uKi30Ehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTsN_uKi30E

I remember seeing something similar on the Andy Griffith show. Barney tried the hand drill and quickly had a burst of flames! Andy doctored up the socket with match heads.


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Limey Pete - 10-27-2018

Here in Pattaya, Thailand certain food stalls still use potassium permanent to sterilize the free water they give to the customers.
A few drops is all that is needed, and the water then has a pink tinge to it.
I suppose the same chemical could be used for treating water in the wild.


RE: Potassium Permanganate - ratel102 - 10-28-2018

(10-26-2018, 09:55 PM)wmerrin Wrote: A couple hundred years ago in high school chemistry we mixed potassium permanganate with another granular solid in a test tube, corked with a one-hole cork and glass tubing and heated over a Bunsen burner to liberate free oxygen.  I have not been able to remember what the second chemical was... any suggestions?

Wally

I'm not sure on that Wally. I do know if you heat potassium permanganate on its own (test tube and bunsen), it will produce oxygen, together with potassium manganate and manganese oxide.

(10-27-2018, 07:16 AM)Limey Pete Wrote: Here in Pattaya, Thailand certain food stalls still use potassium permanent to sterilize the free water they give to the customers.
A few drops is all that is needed, and the water then has a pink tinge to it.
I suppose the same chemical could be used for treating water in the wild.

It's more ubiquitous than I thought Limey. Thanks for the info.

Are you still traveling, hopping trains, etc, or are you more or less settled in Thailand?


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Limey Pete - 10-29-2018

(10-28-2018, 05:03 PM)ratel102 Wrote:
(10-26-2018, 09:55 PM)wmerrin Wrote: A couple hundred years ago in high school chemistry we mixed potassium permanganate with another granular solid in a test tube, corked with a one-hole cork and glass tubing and heated over a Bunsen burner to liberate free oxygen.  I have not been able to remember what the second chemical was... any suggestions?

Wally

I'm not sure on that Wally. I do know if you heat potassium permanganate on its own (test tube and bunsen), it will produce oxygen, together with potassium manganate and manganese oxide.

(10-27-2018, 07:16 AM)Limey Pete Wrote: Here in Pattaya, Thailand certain food stalls still use potassium permanent to sterilize the free water they give to the customers.
A few drops is all that is needed, and the water then has a pink tinge to it.
I suppose the same chemical could be used for treating water in the wild.

It's more ubiquitous than I thought Limey. Thanks for the info.

Are you still traveling, hopping trains, etc, or are you more or less settled in Thailand?

I have become a hopeless barfly staring bleary eyed at half naked dancers in go go bars until the early hours of the morning now Ratel.
Alas I am doomed to be found expired in a Thai hotel room after three days of not being seen, where the cops will go through my pockets and share out my cash, then take me to a Buddhist Wat where I will be cremated with three others – to save fuel.
Alas, tis my fate I think.

Rolleyes


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Deerstalker - 10-29-2018

(10-29-2018, 07:09 AM)Limey Pete Wrote: Alas I am doomed to be found expired in a Thai hotel room after three days of not being seen, where the cops will go through my pockets and share out my cash, then take me to a Buddhist Wat where I will be cremated with three others – to save fuel.

 My cousin met a similar fate Confused


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Limey Pete - 10-29-2018

The only thing the Thais give a foreigner that is free is a cremation, however they loot the foreigners possessions before hand so I suppose they are paid.
Last week here an old skinny Scotsman, who we all knew well and avoided, because he would argue with his shadow, was found dead in his hotel room.
He drank himself to death.
I suppose it was better than drinking himself to death in Glasgow . . .


RE: Potassium Permanganate - Willie - 10-29-2018

(10-29-2018, 10:16 AM)Limey Pete Wrote: I suppose it was better than drinking himself to death in Glasgow . . .

Ain't that the greatest truth ever uttered by man!!!