The Chemistry of Silver Permanganate

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Silver is a metal used for jewelry, electrical contact points, mirrors, and a variety of household items. It is also a germicide and kills many lower organisms without harming higher ones, which accounts for its use since ancient times, when it was known as argentum. It is found in pure deposits, and as sulfides, such as argentite (Ag2S) and horn silver (AgCl). Archaeological evidence suggests that people learned to separate silver from other minerals as early as 3000 B.C.

The chemistry of silver permanganate and its salts, particularly the potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium salts has been extensively studied, but information on the chemistry of other permanganates is sparse. The chemistry of the permanganate complexes with other metals, such as cobalt, beryllium, and zinc oxide, is also under-researched.

Unlike the potassium salt, which is soluble in water to a large degree, other permanganate compounds are not. Nonetheless, they can be prepared in aqueous solution and have been characterized by chemical analysis and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The reactivity of these compounds has been explored by varying the temperature of the reaction.

During this investigation, the structure of the permanganate complex of cobalt in its high-temperature polymorph was determined by X-ray crystallography. In this complex, the cobalt ion is surrounded by fourteen oxygen atoms forming a slightly distorted bicapped hexagonal prism. Three of the oxygen atoms are linked together through edge-sharing with two other oxygen atoms in neighboring cesium polyhedra. The resulting layer extends parallel to the (001) plane of the tetrahedral oxomanganate(VII) anions.