Pyrolusite is a mineral consisting essentially of manganese dioxide (MnO2) and is important as an ore of manganese. It is a black, amorphous appearing mineral, often with a granular, fibrous or columnar structure, sometimes forming reniform crusts. It has a metallic luster, a black or bluish-black streak, and readily soils the fingers. The specific gravity is about 4.8. Its name is from the Greek for fire and to wash, in reference to its use as a way to remove tints from glass.
The metal is obtained by reduction of the oxide with Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminium, or by electrolysis. Pyrolusite is extensively used for the manufacture of Spiegeleisen and Ferromanganese and of various alloys such as manganese-bronze. As an oxidizing agent it is used in the preparation of chlorine. Natural pyrolusite has been used in batteries, but high-quality batteries requires synthetic products. Pyrolusite is also used to prepare disinfectants (permanganates) and for decolorizing glass. When mixed with molten glass it oxidizes the ferrous iron to ferric iron, and so discharges the green and brown tints (making it classically useful to glassmakers as a decolorizer). As a coloring material, it is used in calico printing and dyeing; for imparting violet, amber, and black colors to glass, pottery, and bricks; and in the manufacture of green and violet paints.