Сhemical сhameleon

Colours change from purple to blue, green and orange

Scientific name: Potassium permanganate is slowly reduced by glucose and comes through several oxidation states that have different colors


Chameleon - Two drops of glycerol make potassium permanganate to change its color

Beautiful Chemical Chameleon (KMnO4+NaOH+Sugar+H2O - Color Changing) + 200 SUBS !

by ChemExperimentalist

Chemical Chameleon Color Changing Experiment

by Splurginscience

Chemical chameleon

by BozhidarStefanov

Chemical Chameleon/Potassium permanganate

The Chemical Chameleon

by Aleksa Radovanovic


Wear goggles and disposable gloves. Alkali is a very dangerous substance, be careful when working with it.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Perform this experiment

Reaction formula

MnO4- + e- → (MnO4)2-

(MnO4)2- + 2H2O + 2e- → MnO2 + 4OH-

Step-by-step instruction

  1. To perform this experiment we need to prepare 2 solutions.
  2. The first one is the solution of potassium permanganate (KMnO4) To prepare first solution dissolve 2 mg. of KMnO4 in 50 ml of distilled water. It is important to use a small amount of substance because otherwise the solution could be too dark to observe the color-changes. The obtained solution should be violet and clear.
  3. The second solution we need to perform this experiment is the solution of a mixture of glucose (C6H12O6) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). In order to prepare it weight 6 g of glucose and 10 g of NaOH. Then dissolve substances in 750 ml of water. The solution should be clear and colorless.
  4. When solutions are prepared we need to pour the solution of KMnO4 to glucose-NaOH mixture solution. To mix best you should swirl the flask.
  5. Observe the wonderful color-change reaction. Colors will changes from violet to blue than to green and yellow. After the reaction passes completely you can leave it for a while and when the precipitate settles the solution becomes clear again.

Scientific background

The chemical chameleon experiment represents a number of red-ox reactions, which cause the solution to change color. The different colors of the solution are associated with various oxidation states of manganese.

Manganate is reduced by glucose in a few steps. Alkali acts as catalyst - the substance which does not take part in the reaction itself but speeds it up. The first step is the reduction of permanganate ion (MnO4)(Mn oxidation state +7) - to manganate ion (MnO4)2- (Mn oxidation state +6).

MnO4- + e- → (MnO4)-2

The color turns from the violet (MnO4)- to green (MnO4)-2.

Next the manganate (Mn oxidation state +6) is reduced again to manganese dioxide (Mn oxidation state +4):

(MnO4)-2 + 2H2O + 2e- → MnO2 + 4OH-

MnO2 is a brown solid substance. When it is formed its particles are small and give a yellow color to the solution.

In parallel with the reduction of potassium permanganate the oxidation of glucose takes place. In the presence of NaOH glucose (C5H11O5(CH)=O) goes to its enol form (C5H11O5(C)-OH) which is a very active redacting agent. When it is oxidized by permanganate and manganite ions it turns to gluconic acid, which is colorless. The overall equation of considered chemical reaction looks as follows:

MnO4- + 2C6H12O6 → MnO2 + 2C6H12O7


Published on 21 January 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst