This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
[Footnote: From Jernkontorets Annaler, vol. xxxvi.--Iron.]
By C. G. SARNSTROM.
If we dissolve black oxide of manganese, permanganate of potash, or any other compound of manganese of a higher degree of oxidation than the protoxide in hydrochloric acid, we obtain, as is well known, a dark colored solution of perchloride of manganese, which, when heated to boiling loses color pretty rapidly, chlorine being given off, until finally only protochloride remains. This decomposition also proceeds at the common temperature, though much more slowly, and we may therefore say that manganese when dissolved in hydrochloric acid always tends to descend to its lowest, and, considered as a base, strongest degree of oxidation, which is not raised to a higher degree even by chameleon solution. In slightly acid, neutral, or alkaline solutions on the other hand, protoxide of manganese absorbs oxygen with great avidity and forms with it different compounds, according to the means of oxidation employed. Thus, for example, manganese is slowly deposited from an ammoniacal solution, when it is permitted to take up oxygen from the air, as hydrated sesquioxide, and from neutral or alkaline solutions, as hydrated peroxide on the addition of chlorine, bromine, or chameleon solution. For if to an acid solution of protochloride of manganese we add a solution of bicarbonate of soda, as long as carbonic acid escapes or till the free acid is saturated and the protochloride of manganese converted into carbonate of protoxide of manganese, which forms with bicarbonate of soda a soluble double salt, resembling the carbonate of lime and magnesia, we obtain a solution which is, indeed, acid from free carbonic acid, but has a slight alkaline reaction with litmus paper, and with the greatest ease deprives chameleon solution of its color, the permanganic acid being reduced and the protoxide of manganese being oxidized to peroxide, which is precipitated as hydrate. This reaction proceeds according to the formula,
3MnCO + 2KMnO + HO = 2KHCO + 5MnO + CO
and it may be employed for estimating the content of manganese by titration. As follows from the formula two equivalents of permanganate of potash are required for the titration of three equivalents of protoxide of manganese, which has also been established by direct experiments, as well as that the escape of carbonic acid indicated by the formula actually takes place. The precipitate of manganese is dissolved either in water to which 0.5 per cent. of hydrochloric acid has been added, or in boiling nitric acid. When manganese occurs along with iron, which in general is the case, we must take care that the iron in the solution is in the state of peroxide, which is precipitated on the addition of the bicarbonate of soda, and is allowed to remain as a precipitate, because it does not affect the titration injuriously. The removal of this precipitate by filtering would be more loss than gain, partly because there would be a risk of losing manganese in this way, partly because the precipitate of manganese, which occurs immediately on the addition of the chameleon solution, proceeds both more rapidly and with greater completeness in the presence of the iron precipitate than otherwise. This appears to be caused by the iron precipitate as it were inclosing, and mechanically drawing down the light manganese precipitate, provided a weak chemical union between the two precipitates does not even take place, depending on the tendency of peroxide of manganese to behave toward bases, as, for instance, hydrate of lime as an acid. Hence it thus follows that it ought to be arranged that a sufficient quantity of iron (at least the same quantity as of manganese) be present in the liquid at titration, also that time be given for the precipitate to fall, so that the color of the solution may be observed between every addition of chameleon solution.
[Footnote 1: For this in case of need a solution of perchloride of iron free of manganese may be employed.]
When the content of manganese is large, it is sometimes rather long before the solution is ready for titration. The reason of this appears to be that a part of the manganese is first precipitated as hydrated sesquioxide, which is afterward oxidized to hydrated peroxide, for the upper portion of the liquid may sometimes be colored by chameleon, while the lower portion, which is in closer contact with the precipitate, is less colored or absolutely colorless. From this we also see how advisable it is to stir the liquid frequently during titration. Toward the close of it, it is also advantageous, when the contents of manganese are large, to warm the solution to about 50° C., because the removal of color is thereby hastened. When the fluid, which is well stirred after each addition of chameleon, has obtained from it a perceptible color, which does not disappear after several stirrings, the whole of the manganese is precipitated and the color of the solution remains almost unchanged after the lapse of at least twelve hours.
When the content of manganese is large the solution may be divided into two equal portions, one of which is first to be roughly titrated to ascertain its content approximately, after which the whole is to be mixed together and the titration completed, which can thus be performed with greater speed and certainty. If too much chameleon has been added, one may titrate back with an accurately estimated solution of manganese, which is prepared most easily by evaporating fifteen cubic centimeters chameleon solution down to two or three cubic centimeters, boiling with two to three cubic centimeters hydrochloric acid so long as the smell of chlorine is observed, and then diluting the solution to ten cubic centimeters, when one cubic centimeter of it corresponds to the same measure of chameleon.
With respect to the delay which must take place during the titration in order to give the precipitate time to fall, it is advantageous, in order to save time, to work with several samples; but it is, in such a case, desirable to have a separate burette for each sample, in order to avoid noting every addition of the chameleon solution and afterward adding them up. If burettes are wanting, and one must be used for several samples, a Mohr's burette with glass cock is the most convenient to use. For the titration of iron with chameleon solution, the latter is commonly used of such a strength that 0.01 gramme of iron corresponds to about one cubic centimeter of chameleon solution, which is obtained by dissolving 5.75 grammes permanganate of potash in 1,000 cubic centimeters water. The titration is determined by means of iron, a salt of iron or oxalic acid. A drop of such a solution, corresponding to about one-twentieth cubic centimeter, or 0.0001 gramme Mn, is sufficient to give a perceptible reddish color to 200 cubic centimeters of water.