Manganese (Mn) is a hard, silvery white metal with a melting point of 1,244 °C (2,271 °F). Ordinarily too brittle to be of structural value itself, it is an essential agent in steelmaking, in which it removes impurities such as sulfur and oxygen and adds important physical properties to the metal. For these purposes it is most often employed as a ferromanganese or silicomanganese alloy; as a pure metal it is added to certain nonferrous alloys.
Manganese metal oxidizes superficially in air, rusts in moist air, and burns in air or oxygen at elevated temperatures. It decomposes water slowly when cool and rapidly when heated, forming hydrogen gas and manganous hydroxide, and it dissolves readily in dilute mineral acids, generating hydrogen and various manganous salts. The chemical reactivity of the metal accounts for its utility in metallurgy and in various chemical compounds.