It is frequently used as a reducing agent: in acid solutions it reduces ferric to ferrous salts, arsenates to arsenites, permanganates to manganous salts, &c., whilst in alkaline solution it converts many organic nitro compounds into the corresponding amino derivatives.
In many cases it acts as a reducing agent (when used in the presence of acids); thus, permanganates are reduced to manganous salts, iodates are reduced with liberation of iodine, &c., 2KMnO 4 + 550 2 + 2H 2 0 = K 2 SO 4 + 2MnSO 4 + 2H 2 SO 4; 2K103+ 550 2 + 4H 2 O =1 3 + 2KHSO 4 + 3H2S04.
With oxygen it probably forms manganous oxide, which is less harmful than ferrous oxide.
Beside this their chief and easy work of oxidizing carbon, silicon and phosphorus, the conversion processes have the harder task of removing sulphur, chiefly by converting it into calcium sulphide, CaS, or manganous sulphide, MnS, which rise to the top of the molten metal and there enter the overlying slag, from which the sulphur may escape by oxidizing to the gaseous compound, sulphurous acid, S02.
Wahl [German patent 70773 (1893)] prepare a 97% manganese from pyrolusite by heating it with 30% sulphuric acid, the product being then converted into manganous oxide by heating in a current of reducing gas at a dull red heat, cooled in a reducing atmosphere, and finally reduced by heating with granulated aluminium in a magnesia crucible with lime and fluorspar as a flux.