Glycerol and KMnO4



Summary:  A puddle of glycerol is poured on a pile of potassium permanganate in a porcelain cup.  After about 30seconds, the reaction bursts into purple flame. 


Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizer. 

Chemicals and Solutions: 

15 g potassium permanganate

2-3 mL glycerol


porcelain dish


Place KMnO4 in dish

Add glycerol on top of potassium permanganate

Stand back. After 30 sec. the reaction mixture will burst into a purple flame

If larger crystals of potassium permanganate are used the reaction is much slower.  (For this reason you can use this demonstration while teaching kinetics.)


This reaction can be delayed if the crystal size of the potassium permanganate is large.


The reaction:

14KMnO4 + 4C3H5(OH)3 ----> 7K2CO3 + 7Mn2O3 +5CO2 +16H2O



To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.



Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606


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