How to make a mixture of potassium permanganate and sulfuric acid ignite?
Chemists are real magicians, because they can ignite substances without matches or fire. This fascinating experiment demonstrates how potassium permanganate self-ignites from the impact of sulfuric acid.
Reagents and equipment:
- 10 g of potassium permanganate;
- 1 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid;
- porcelain tile.
For the experiment, we take several grams of potassium permanganate and sprinkle it on a ceramic tile. Carefully pour a small amount of concentrated sulfuric acid on it. The drops become green – this is the color of permanganic anhydride [manganese oxide (VII)]. Several seconds later the “volcano” bursts into flames and emits smoke.
Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizer. When potassium permanganate comes into contact with the drops of concentrated sulfuric acid, the unstable manganese oxide Mn₂O₇ is formed, which colors the drops of sulfuric acid green. Shortly afterwards the “volcano erupts”: a bright flash with the release of brown “volcanic smoke”. This takes place as a result of the breakdown of the unstable oxide (VII) Mn₂O₇ to manganese oxide (IV) MnO₂ and oxygen O₂.
When working with concentrated sulfuric acid, wear rubber gloves and protective glasses, as it will cause burns if it comes into contact with your eyes or skin.
Warning! Substances of this experiment are toxic and highly dangerous for your health. Do not try this at home. Only under professional supervision.