Oxidation of Glycerin by Potassium Permanganate


A few drops of glycerin (1,2,3-propanetriol) are placed into a hollow in a pile of potassium permanganate. An exothermic reaction results producing fumes and a flame.

Chemical Equation

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

Think About It

  1. Is this an endothermic or an exothermic reaction? Support your answer.
  2. What observable evidence indicates that a chemical reaction is taking place?


This is a highly exothermic reaction. It should only be carried out in a well-ventilated area. Explosions may result from the reaction of easily oxidizable materials with potassium permanganate, a strong oxidizer.