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What is Manganese?

Manganese is a transition metal, found in the first row of the seventh column of the periodic table of elements.

Atoms of manganese contain 25 electrons, 25 protons, and 30 neutrons. The atomic symbol of manganese is Mn, and its atomic number is 25.

manganese element

Manganese’ atomic weight is 54.94.

It is solid at room temperature, has a melting point of 1246 degrees Celsius, and a boiling point of 2061 degrees Celsius.

Manganese was discovered by a scientist called Johan G. Gahn in the year 1774.

Characteristics and Properties

In its standard form, manganese is a solid, silver and gray colored metal. Manganese appears very similar to iron in its appearance and in much of its functionality, as well.

This makes sense, as iron is the element next to manganese on the layout of the periodic table.

periodic table

The pure form of manganese is extremely hard, brittle, and breakable. It is not malleable at all, and cannot be worked on in any manufacturing capacity because it breaks very easily.

Like iron, the pure, standard form of manganese is shiny at times, if polished, but in general any exposure to air will lead to tarnishing.

It slowly gets overcome by rust or decomposition when put into contact with water, as with iron.


Where is manganese found?

Manganese can primarily be found in the Earth’s outer crust layer.

Unlike other transition metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum (which are very rare), manganese is actually the twelfth most commonly found and most abundant known element, metallic or otherwise.

manganese ore
Manganese ore

Manganese can be found in compounds, or ores, in the earth with many other types of metals, and smaller amounts of it can also be found in the ocean.

The primary miners and distributers of manganese include Australia and South Africa.

map of australia

How manganese is used today

Manganese is commonly used in the intentional production of various metal alloys for industrial uses.

It is very common to fuse manganese and steel in order to make things like very strong steel appliances. Stainless steel is one of these uses.


Manganese can also be used in alloys of aluminum, especially in the aluminum cans that are mass produced to store various beverages.

Other common uses of manganese include application in batteries, gasoline additives, and color for paints, glass, and ceramics.


Organic uses of manganese include enzyme functioning, the development of strong bones in humans and other mammals, the functioning of the endocrine and digestive systems, such as with liver and kidney functioning, and plant photosynthesis.

Discovery of manganese

The first person to purify and isolate manganese as a new element was Johan G. Gahn, a chemist from Sweden, in the year 1774.

The existence of manganese was known to science before this, but Gahn was the first person able to successfully isolate it from other minerals.

magnetism for kids

Manganese was named based on the Latin word for magnet (magnes), although this is technically a misnomer because manganese is not magnetic in nature.

Due to manganese’ similar structure, appearance, and function to iron, it used to be referred to as an element from the iron group in the periodic table, similar to the categorization of the platinum group.

Fun Quiz Time!

  1. Who is credited with discovering manganese?
  2. How did manganese get its name?
  3. Which other element is manganese most like?
  4. What does manganese help plants with?
  5. What is the atomic number of manganese?

quiz activity


  1. Johan G. Gahm
  2. From the Latin word for magnet
  3. Iron
  4. Photosynthesis
  5. 25



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