Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl

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Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl
Methylcyclopentadienyl-Manganese-Tricarbonyl Skeletal.svg
IUPAC name
Other names
MMT, CI-2, Combustion Improver-2, Manganese tricarbonylmethylcyclopentadienyl, 2-Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.031.957 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 235-166-5
RTECS number
  • OP1450000
UN number 3281
Molar mass 218.09 g/mol
Appearance pale yellow to dark orange liquid[1]
Odor faint, pleasant[1]
Density 1.38 g/cm3
Melting point −1 °C (30 °F; 272 K)
Boiling point 232 to 233 °C (450 to 451 °F; 505 to 506 K)
Solubility in other solvents alkane (petrol)
Vapor pressure 7 mmHg (100°C)[1]
Tetrahedral at Mn
Main hazards flammable, toxic to skin and inhalation
GHS pictograms GHS06: ToxicGHS09: Environmental hazard
GHS Signal word Danger
H301, H310, H330, H315, H372, H410
P260, P273, P280, P284, P301+310, P302+350
Flash point 110 °C; 230 °F; 383 K [1]
NIOSH (US health exposure limits):
PEL (Permissible)
C 5 mg/m3[1]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 0.2 mg/m3 [skin][1]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT or MCMT) is an organomanganese compound with the formula (C5H4CH3)Mn(CO)3. Initially marketed as a supplement for use in leaded gasoline, MMT was later used in unleaded gasoline to increase the octane rating. Following the implementation of the Clean Air Act (United States) (CAA) in 1970, MMT continued to be used alongside tetraethyl lead (TEL) in the US as leaded gasoline was phased out (prior to TEL finally being banned from US gasoline in 1995), and was also used in unleaded gasoline until 1977. Ethyl Corporation obtained a waiver from the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 1995, which allows the use of MMT in US unleaded gasoline (not including reformulated gasoline) at a treat rate equivalent to 8.3 mg Mn/L (manganese per liter).[2]

MMT has been used in Canadian gasoline since 1976 (and in numerous other countries for many years) at a concentration up to 8.3 mg Mn/L (though the importation and interprovincial trade of gasoline containing MMT was restricted briefly during the period 1997–1998)[3][4] and was introduced into Australia in 2000. It has been sold under the tradenames HiTEC 3000, Cestoburn and Ecotane.[5][6]

History of usage in the United States[edit]

Though initially marketed in 1958 as a smoke suppressant for gas turbines, MMT was further developed as an octane improver in 1974. When the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the phase out of TEL in gasoline in 1973, new fuel additives were sought. TEL has been, and still is, used in certain countries as an additive to increase the octane rating of automotive gasoline.

In 1977, the US Congress amended the CAA to require advance approval by the EPA for the continued use of fuel additives such as MMT, ethanol, ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), etc.[7] The new CAA amendment required a "waiver" to allow use of fuel additives made of any elements other than carbon, hydrogen, oxygen (within certain limits) and nitrogen.[8] To obtain a waiver, the applicant was required to demonstrate that the fuel additive would not lead to a failure of vehicle emission control systems.

Ethyl Corporation (Ethyl) applied to the US EPA for a waiver for MMT in both 1978 and 1981; in both cases the applications were denied because of stated concerns that MMT might damage catalytic converters and increase hydrocarbon emissions. In 1988, Ethyl began a new series of discussions with the EPA to determine a program for developing the necessary data to support a waiver application. In 1990, Ethyl filed its third waiver application prompting an extensive four-year review process. In 1993, the U.S. EPA determined that use of MMT at 8.3 mg Mn/l would not cause, or contribute to, vehicle emission control system failures.[9]

Despite that finding, the EPA ultimately denied the waiver request in 1994 due to uncertainty related to health concerns regarding manganese emissions from the use of MMT.[10]

As a result of this ruling, Ethyl initiated a legal action claiming that the EPA had exceeded its authority by denying the waiver on these grounds. This was upheld by the US Court of Appeals[11] and EPA subsequently granted a waiver which allows the use of MMT in US unleaded gasoline (not including reformulated gasoline) at a treat rate equivalent to 8.3 mg Mn/l.

Implementation of this less-toxic alternative to TEL has been controversial. Opposition from automobile manufacturers and some areas of the scientific community has reportedly prompted oil companies to stop voluntarily the usage of MMT in some of their countries of operation.[12]

MMT is currently manufactured in the U.S. by the Afton Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of New Market Corporation.[13] It is also produced and marketed as Cestoburn by Cestoil Chemical Inc. in Canada.

Structure and synthesis[edit]

MMT is manufactured by reduction of bis(methylcyclopentadienyl) manganese using triethylaluminium. The reduction is conducted under an atmosphere of carbon monoxide. The reaction is exothermic, and without proper cooling, can lead to catastrophic thermal runaway.[14]

MMT is a so-called half-sandwich compound, or more specifically a piano-stool complex (since the three CO ligands are like the legs of a piano stool). The manganese atom in MMT is coordinated with three carbonyl groups as well as to the methylcyclopentadienyl ring. These hydrophobic organic ligands make MMT highly lipophilic.

Related compounds[edit]

A variety of related complexes are known, including ferrocene, which has also been used as an additive to gasoline.[15]

Although of no practical value, the related compound cyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (C5H5)Mn(CO)3 is also well studied. Up to two of the CO ligands in MMT can be replaced with thiocarbonyl groups, as illustrated by the compounds (CH3C5H4)Mn(CS)2CO and (CH3C5H4)Mn(CS)(CO)2.


The human and environmental health impacts that may result from the use of MMT will be a function of exposure to either: (1) MMT in its original, unchanged, chemical form and/or (2) manganese combustion products emitted from vehicles operating on gasoline containing MMT as an octane improver.

MMT (as a chemical before combustion in gasoline)[edit]

The general public has minimal to zero direct exposure to MMT as a chemical, before it is combusted in gasoline. As stated by the US EPA in their risk assessment on MMT, "except for accidental or occupational contacts, exposure to MMT itself was not thought likely to pose a significant risk to the general population." Similarly, the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) stated that "[m]inimal public exposure to MMT is likely as a result of spills and splashes of LRP [lead replacement petrol] and aftermarket additives".[16]

The MMT dossier registered in the European Chemical Agency's webpage indicates that before combustion in gasoline, MMT is classified as an acute toxicant by the oral, dermal, and inhalation routes of exposure under the European Union's Classification, Labeling and Packaging Regulation (EC/1272/2008), implementing the Global Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling. The US ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) notes that MMT is very unstable in light and degrades to a mixture of less harmful substances and inorganic manganese in less than 2 minutes.[17][18] Therefore, human exposure to MMT prior to combustion in gasoline would not likely occur at significant levels.

Regarding occupational exposure to the raw concentrated chemical prior to addition in gasoline, it has been noted that acute exposures to high levels of MMT in its raw concentrated form, prior to addition in gasoline, have resulted in giddiness, headache, nausea, chest tightness, dyspnea and paresthesia. In animals, acute lethal exposure to MMT is associated with damage to the lungs, kidney, liver and spleen, as well as tremors, convulsions, dyspnea and weakness. In both animals and humans, slight skin and eye irritation may result from dermal and ocular exposure, respectively. Data show that repeated inhalation exposure to MMT in rats results in histological changes in the lungs at levels greater than 3 mg/m3. No effects were seen in the lungs or brain of monkeys when treated with up to 30 mg/m3 MMT.

Chronic exposure to high levels of manganese, typically in certain occupational activities (such as welding), has also been known to cause manganism, a rare disease with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease. Manganism has generally been eliminated due to proper controls in these occupational settings, such as in the ferro-alloy industry.

The US OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) has not established a permissible exposure limit specifically for MMT. However, OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit at a ceiling of 5 mg/m3 for manganese and its compounds, while the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends workers not be exposed to more than 0.2 mg/m3, over an eight-hour time-weighted average.[19] In Europe, the MMT DNELs (Derived No Effect Level) for workers by the inhalation and dermal routes of exposure are 0.6 mg/m3 and 0.11 mg/kg-day, respectively. The MMT DNELs for the general population by the inhalation and dermal routes of exposure are 0.11 mg/m3 and 0.062 mg/kg-day, respectively.

In summary, based on the low potential for MMT release under normal storage and use, and MMT's rapid photo-degradation properties, environmental exposures are expected to be minimal. This is emphasized again by NICNAS in their conclusions which state that "[u]se of MMT in internal combustion engines as a fuel additive and subsequent degradation through combustion, and its short persistence in the environment, indicate that aquatic and terrestrial organisms are unlikely to be exposed to MMT at or above levels of concern through existing use as an AVSR. A low environmental risk is predicted".

Combustion products[edit]

The health hazards associated with manganese compounds (manganese phosphate, manganese sulfate and manganese tetraoxide) emitted from vehicles operating on gasoline containing MMT have been debated for decades.[citation needed] In 1994 (reaffirmed in 1998, 2001 and 2010), Health Canada concluded that "airborne manganese resulting from the combustion of MMT in gasoline powered vehicles is not entering the Canadian environment in quantities or under conditions that may constitute a health risk"[20] and confirmed they were taking no action with respect to MMT. Similarly, the 2003 NICNAS report states that the airborne concentrations of manganese as a result of car emissions from vehicles using fuel containing MMT poses no health hazard.[citation needed]

The assessment conducted by NICNAS asserts that "[m]anganese, the principle degradation by-product from combustion of MMT, is naturally occurring and ubiquitous in the environment. It is an essential nutrient of plants and animals. Environmental exposure to Mn compounds will mostly arise through the gaseous phase. Eventually, these will deposit to land and waters. The emission of Mn into the environment from use of fuels containing MMT is unlikely to develop to levels of concern and therefore poses a low risk for terrestrial or aquatic environments."

Additional health studies, overseen by the US EPA, were conducted to explain the transport of manganese in the body. Some of these studies were published by the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences from 2007 through 2011, and their findings include that manganese is naturally present in the environment and the body's natural mechanisms can handle a wide range of manganese intake via inhalation or ingestion. The study's authors assert that no significant health effects are anticipated from the use of MMT in gasoline,[21] and that the human body can safely handle inhaled manganese at levels observed when MMT is used in gasoline—including vulnerable groups such as infants and the elderly.

Overall combined risk assessment[edit]

Based on the low potential for the release of concentrated MMT (before its combustion in gasoline) under normal storage and use, as well as its rapid photo-degradation properties, it has been concluded in multiple technical and global regulatory assessments that significant impacts to human health or the environment from MMT use are not anticipated. NICNAS concluded that there is "low occupational risk associated with MMT" both "for workers involved in formulating and distributing LRP or aftermarket fuel additives and those involved in automotive maintenance". Further, they also concluded that there is a "low risk" to the public from the use of MMT.

Significant human or environmental exposures associated with manganese compounds (manganese phosphate, manganese sulfate and manganese tetraoxide) from the combustion of MMT are not expected. In Health Canada's risk assessment on the health implications of the manganese combustion products of MMT, it was concluded that manganese exposures from MMT use are unlikely to pose a risk to health for any sub-group of the population. NICNAS similarly concluded that chronic Mn exposures (from all sources combined) are unlikely to be significantly changed by the use of MMT as a fuel additive.

In 2013, a risk assessment on MMT was developed by ARCADIS Consulting and verified by an independent panel, according to the methodology provided by the European Commission in compliance with the requirements of the European Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC). The conclusions of a risk assessment are that "for MMT and its transformation products, when MMT is used as a fuel additive in petrol, no significant human health or environmental concerns related to exposure to either MMT or its transformation [combustion] products (manganese phosphate, manganese sulfate and manganese tetroxide) were identified at use at levels up to 18 mg Mn/l. Depending on the regional needs and the vehicle emission control technology available, an MMT treat rate in the range of 8.3 mg Mn/l to 18 mg Mn/l is scientifically justified and may deliver both environmental and economic benefits without significant adverse effects."[22]

T2 Laboratories explosion and fire[edit]

On December 19, 2007 an explosion and fire occurred at T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, Florida, resulting in the deaths of four people and the injury of fourteen others.[23][24] The explosion occurred in a 2500-gallon batch reactor during production of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl.[25] The reactor cooling system, which lacked backups, failed; this led to a thermal runaway. Pressures rapidly reached 400 PSI, bursting the rupture disc, but it was too late. Nearby witnesses described a jet engine-like sound as high pressure gases vented from the reactor. At the same time pressure increased in the reactor, temperatures also increased in the reactor until the MCMT reached its decomposition temperature.[26] The pressure and temperature continued to increase until the reactor violently ruptured and the MMT exploded, destroying the reactor. Damage from the explosion was severe enough that 4 buildings in the immediate vicinity of the plant were condemned.[27]

Vehicle manufacturer recommendations[edit]

Many manufacturers recommend against use of MMT in their vehicles, while others specifically prohibit its use.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0409". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  2. ^ "60 FR 36414 - Fuels and Fuel Additives; Grant of Waiver Application".
  3. ^ "Threat of NAFTA Case Kills Canada's MMT Ban: Challenge over gasoline additive could have cost Ottawa millions". The Globe and Mail. July 20, 1998.
  4. ^ "MMT, A Risk Management Masquerade" (PDF).
  5. ^ Frumkin, Howard; et al. (1997). "Manganese in the US Gas Supply". American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 31 (1): 107–115. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199701)31:1<107::AID-AJIM16>3.0.CO;2-6. PMID 8986262.
  6. ^ "Report: Owners of Jacksonville's T2 Lab never knew risks of deadly explosion". Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  7. ^ "42 USC § 7545 - Regulation of fuels".
  8. ^ Definition of Substantially Similar.[][ ]
  9. ^ 58 Fed. Reg. 64,761 (December 9, 1993)
  10. ^ "Fuels and Fuel Additives;Waiver Decision/Circuit Court Remand".
  11. ^ "Waiver Ruling".
  12. ^ Marco Di Girolamo, Maura Brianti, Massimo Conte, Mario Marchionna "Octane Enhancers" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim.
  13. ^ "Afton Chemical Ltd".
  14. ^ "T2 Laboratories Inc. Reactive Chemical Explosion". US Chemical Safety Board. USCSB. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  15. ^ Petz, W., "40 years of transition-metal thiocarbonyl chemistry and the related CSe and CTe compounds", Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 2008, volume 252, pp. 1689-1733.doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2007.12.011.
  16. ^ "National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme; Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl June 2003" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-03-27.
  17. ^ Garrison, AW; et al. (1995). "Environmental fate of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl". Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 14 (11): 1859–1864. doi:10.1002/etc.5620141107.
  18. ^ Wallington, TJ (1999). "Atmospheric Chemistry of Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl: Photolysis, Reaction with Hydroxyl Radicals and Ozone". Environmental Science & Technology. 33 (23): 4232–4238. Bibcode:1999EnST...33.4232W. doi:10.1021/es990350p.
  19. ^ "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 4, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2013".
  20. ^ "Petition to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, under section 22 of the Auditor General Act. July 2001".[dead link]
  21. ^ "Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl (MMT) Alternative Tier 2 Health Effects Test Program, Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2004-0074".
  22. ^ conclusions of this risk assessment
  23. ^ "Plant Blast is Worst U.S. Industrial Accident in Nearly 3 Years". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  24. ^ "Chemical Reactor Rupture Suspected In Fatal Lab Explosion, Safety Board Says". Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Willey, Ronald J.; Fogler, H. Scott; Cutlip, Michael B. (2011). "The integration of process safety into a chemical reaction engineering course: Kinetic modeling of the T2 incident". Process Safety Progress. 30 (1): 39–44. doi:10.1002/prs.10431. hdl:2027.42/83180. ISSN 1547-5913.
  27. ^ Runaway: Explosion at T2 Laboratories. September 21, 2009. Event occurs at 4:31. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  28. ^ "General Motors, "2011 Chevrolet Malibu Owners Manual", 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 5, 2010.