Manganese was already discovered in 1774 by the chemists Scheele and Gahn. It is an important alloy component in steel production. It extracts the steel parasites sulphur and oxygen from the steel, has a hardening effect, and also improves the formability.

Rhodochrosite | Manganese-containing mineral

Manganese forms very strong compounds with oxygen. In the steel structure the harmful oxygen is bonded. Manganese also has a desulphurising effect. This prevents the formation of sulphides. Manganese stimulates the formation of austenite, because it increases the solubility of nitrogen. These properties are of great importance for many stainless steel grades.

The influence of manganese on the mechanical properties of steel:

Property Influence (1) Degree (1) Influence (2) Degree (2)
Rust resistance no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Hardness Improvement + 1 Decrease - 3
Strength Improvement + 1 Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 1 Decrease - 1
Elasticity Improvement + 1 no bearing 0
Heat resistance no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Carbide formation no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Wear resistance Decrease - 2 no bearing 0
Nitratability no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Strain no bearing 0 Improvement + 3
Reduction of area no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Notched Impact Strength no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Forgeability Improvement + 1 Decrease - 3
Scaling no bearing 0 Decrease - 2
Machinability Decrease - 1 Decrease - 3
(1) for pearlitic steels
(2) for austenitic steels


The English research vessel "Challenger" explored the Pacific in 1873. In trawl nets the researchers found many potato-shaped stones, which were manganese. Shark teeth were found when breaking up these tubers. Calculations showed that in about 1000 years a layer of only 1.5 mm is formed. So these sharks died over 1.5 million years ago.

See also

Accompanying Elements

Steel does not only consist of iron and carbon. Other elements can influence the properties of steel.

Read more
Alloying Elements

There is a large number of different alloying elements. Each one influences the material properties.

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Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

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