The term “zeolite” (Greek for: “boiling stone”) was coined in 1756 by the Swedish chemist and mineralogist Baron Axel Frederic von Cronstedt in the course of the discovery of the first natural zeolite mineral.
Today, the term “zeolites” is used to describe a class of mineral materials (both naturally derived and synthetically produced) whose almost unique combination of special chemical, physical, structural and textural properties opens up a wide range of applications, such as:
- Due to the freely mobile cations available in the complex structure, zeolites are capable of ion exchange. This property is used, for example, in detergents or in the purification of contaminated waters (fish farming waters, radioactively contaminated waters).
- Due to a uniform pore system with pores in the size range of simple molecules in combination with a high inner surface area, zeolites are capable of substance separation in the molecular range (“molecular sieves”). This property is used, for example, in gas drying or separation (air separation).
- Due to the special surface chemical properties in combination with the high inner surface area, zeolites are used as solid catalysts, especially in the fields of oil and gas processing and increasingly in environmental protection.
- Due to the energetic effects occurring in connection with the interaction between molecules and high inner surface, zeolites can be used for the generation of heat or cold, or as energy storage.
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