# Oxidation of tert-butyl alcohol with potassium permanganate

I was doing a high school lab, and according to my expectations for organic chemistry reactions, the following reaction of potassium permanganate and tert-butyl alcohol (t-butanol) should occur:

KMnO4 + C4H10O -> No Reaction

This is because, as far as I understand, while primary alcohols produce aldehydes and secondary alcohols produce ketones, tertiary alcohols do not react in standard oxidation.

My issue is that when I combined 3mL of t-butanol and 1mL of potassium permanganate, plus an H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) catalyst, a visible reaction did occur, turning the solution Orange.

For reference, the initial colour of t-butanol is clear, and KMnO4 is a clear but pink colour.

My initial thoughts are there must be some sort of contaminant. That being said, the only other chemicals nearby that COULD have possible contaminated the solution if someone mixed pipettes werea sec-butyl alcohol and 1-butanol, and I already know the reaction for those with potassium permanganate produces a clear product.

This is my first time using the chemistry StackExchange but I'm used to using StackOverflow, so please feel free to let me know if there is anything missing in my question and I will put it in an addendum in my post. All help appreciated.

Idea

Maybe it formed formaldehyde?

• It is probably $\ce{MnO2}$.