Element 25 in our International Year of the Periodic Table elements series is manganese, found in railways, our bones and enzymes, and drinks cans.

Manganese is added to steel to strengthen it. This steel is then used for railway lines, safes, and prison bars. There’s more interesting science on the reason leaves on railway lines cause delays here.

Manganese also helps strengthen bones – without it, they’re spongier and break more easily. It’s also found in a number of important enzymes in our bodies.

Drinks cans are mainly aluminium, but they also contain small amounts of manganese. Its addition helps to prevent corrosion.

Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s dedicated page.