So on the data, it said that we can reduce potassium permanganate by utilizing oxalic acid, thus producing carbon dioxide. But can anyone propose a reaction mechanism of how the whole reaction happens, and how did oxalic acid break up into $\ce{CO2}$? Thanks in advance!


I think it would go through a manganese-oxalate complex (oxalate is a good ligand for many metals), and that would fragment via a reaction such as:

cyclic fragmentation of a manganese (VII) oxalate complex

The Mn(V) species would likely disproportionate to manganese dioxide and permanganate.

  • $\begingroup$ Couldn't understand can you do a more formal explanation ?Thanks a lot! $\endgroup$ – user46899 Jul 19 '17 at 13:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ More formally, the complex shown results from adding oxalic acid to permanganate ion with elimination of a water molecule. The three curly arrows each represent a pair of electrons moving to shift the pattern of bonding from reactants to products. The result is a change of oxidation state (REDUCTION) of manganese from VII to V. Hope this helps! $\endgroup$ – iad22agp Jul 20 '17 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ But wouldn't the result became Mn (II) ion? $\endgroup$ – user46899 Jul 20 '17 at 5:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Either that or manganese (IV) dioxide, depending on pH and other factors--as a final result. But other intermediate oxidation states may be initially formed, but then disproportionate in a manner like what I gave in my original answer. If you want to go deeper on this, I am not your man. I urge you to post another question about this specific issue and let a bona fide inorganic chemist respond. $\endgroup$ – iad22agp Jul 20 '17 at 12:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.