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Natural zeolite with a U.S. penny for scale
Natural zeolite with a U.S. penny for scale

Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals. It is commonly used as commercial absorbants and catalysts.[1] The name zeolite was given in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt. He called the material zeolite, from the Greek ζέω (zéō), meaning "to boil" and λίθος (líthos), meaning "stone".[2]


Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash react with alkaline groundwater. Zeolites found in nature are almost never pure. They are contaminated by other minerals, metals, quartz, or other zeolites.


Zeolites can be used in domestic and commercial water purification, water softening, and other uses. Zeolites were also found to help silver naturally emit light, which may compete with fluorescent lights or LEDs.[3]

Zeolites can be used to store solar heat harvested from solar thermal collectors.[4] The largest use for zeolite is the global laundry detergent market.


  1. "W. R. Grace - Zeolite Structure". 2009-02-15. Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  2. "Bihang till Kongl. Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens Handlingar. Stockholm". Rendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo. 7 (1): 40. December 1893. doi:10.1007/bf03017646. ISSN 0009-725X. S2CID 184480098.
  3. "Scientists discover why silver clusters emit light". Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  4. "Solar heating and cooling system design and development. Status summary, April--June 1978". 1978-07-01. doi:10.2172/6594099. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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