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Zeolite, Its Components and Their Solubility in Water


By 1756, a Swedish mineralogist named Axel had invented the word zeolite. Zeolites may be found in nature, but they are also mass-produced in industrial settings. More than 250 naturally existing zeolite structures have been found and catalogued as of December 2018. The International Zeolite Association Structure Commission examines each novel zeolite structure and assigns it a three-letter identifier. This paper will describe what zeolite is, its constituents, and if each of these components is wholly or partially soluble. It will also explain how these components can help detoxify the body.

Zeolite Definition

Zeolites are hydrated aluminosilicate minerals that include alkali and alkaline-earth metals. Zeolites are renowned for their reversible dehydration and ion-exchange lability. This structure comprises water molecules and large, positively-charged metal cations (ion pairs).

Structural Features of Zeolite

Zeolite’s three-dimensional tetrahedral structure divides each oxygen atom between two tetrahedral. The substitution of aluminum for silicon causes an electrical charge imbalance, and the framework would remain neutral if all silicon-containing tetrahedral were replaced by aluminum tetrahedral (Tom, 2015). Metal ions including potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and barium are often found as mono or divalent ions in naturally occurring zeolites. Aside from the more extensive voids and the presence of water found in zeolites, they’re pretty similar to feldspar minerals. For example, zeolites are classed by the sorts of rings or polyhedra structures that make up the framework. The framework units create cavities with widths between 2 and 8 Angstrom to facilitate ion transport across holes.

Water and ions may easily travel throughout the framework, allowing for reverse dehydration and cation interchange, which vary greatly depending on the chemistry and structure of the treated substance. The way water is bonded in a system affects the dehydration property. The dehydration of zeolites with firmly bound water happens at reasonably high temperatures; on the other hand, water partially liberated at low temperatures occurs in zeolites with big cavities (Jihong et al., 2017). The size and connectivity of holes affect the rate of ion exchange. Several ions are ruled out due to their particular structural characteristics. Commercial zeolite manufacturing of specific structural and chemical zeolites utilizes zeolite qualities. Selective molecular adsorption and hydrocarbon separation in petroleum refining are only a few of the commercial applications for this technology.

Components of Zeolites

Na+, Ca2+, Mg2, +K+, and a slew of other cations may all find a home in the porous structure of zeolites. They may quickly be swapped for other positive ions in a contact solution. Analcime, chabazite clinoptilolite Heulandite Natrolite Phillipsite Stilbite are only some of the more prevalent mineral zeolites. The mineral formula for natrolite, an example of a zeolite, is Na2Al2Si3O102H2O. The acidity of cation exchanged zeolites vary, and they catalyze various processes. Volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater to generate natural zeolites (Rhodes, 2010). For hundreds to centuries after deposition, zeolites are also formed in open marine basins. Minerals, Metals, silica, and other zeolites often contaminate naturally occurring zeolites, making them difficult to use in their pure form. The lack of consistency and purity in naturally occurring zeolites makes them unsuitable for many commercial uses. Aluminum-silicon-oxygen zeolites have the formula MxAlxSi1xO2yH2O, where M is a metal or H+ ion in the “molecular sieve” family. Zeolites are the aluminosilicate members of this group of microporous compounds known as molecular sieves. Weathering, hydrothermal alteration, or metamorphism may lead to the transformation of zeolites into other minerals.

Zeolites Solubility in Water

In water, zeolites are partially or relatively insoluble; thus, aqueous detergent solutions may be filtered to remove zeolites.

  • Silicon dioxide

It is three to four times more soluble in water for silica than quartz; concerning temperature, the solubility peaks about 340°C. Using a hydrothermal technique, natural quartz is dissolved in superheated water and then cooled at the top of the pressure vessel. This property is employed to create single crystals of quartz. Oral consumption of silica is entirely nontoxic. Respiratory problems may result from inhaling finely split crystalline silica dust because it can lodge in the lungs and irritate them over time, resulting in silicosis, bronchitis, or even lung cancer. Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis are more likely to occur in people who inhale high amounts of small silica particles (such as from occupational exposure) than the predicted rates in the general population (Li & Yu, 2021). Crystalline silica molecules do not disintegrate in the human body during therapeutically relevant periods. The NLRP3 inflammasome, found in macrophages and dendritic cells, may be activated by pulmonary silica crystals, resulting in the generation of interleukin, a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine. Toxins, trash, and heavy metals may be removed from the body quite effectively with silica due to its ability to clean your cells thoroughly. Healthy dietary sources of silica are essential if you want to get the most digestion advantages.

  • Sodium Zeolite

Extracting Sodium Zeolite from detergents is possible. Aqueous detergent solutions may be filtered to remove zeolites, which are generally insoluble. There will be no hydration left in the residue after heating. Water softening, desiccation, ion exchange and dehydration catalyst characteristics may all be investigated using the zeolite extract. Only zeolites can dry and rehydrate without changing their structure, making them one of a kind. Absorbing gases is also possible (Borisova et al., 2021). Zeolites may enable the solution to flow through their structure because the inner channel is an open framework. Toxic contaminants may be removed from animal feed by adding zeolites. Aquariums may also benefit from using zeolites, which help eliminate ammonia and other pollutants.

  • Analcites

Analcime or analcite is a tectosilicate mineral that may be white, grey, or colorless. Analcime is a cubic crystalline form of anhydrous sodium aluminium silicate. NaAlSi2O6H2O is its chemical formula. Substitutes for sodium include potassium and calcium in small quantities. A synthetic silver-bearing version is also available (Palevic et al., 2018). Analcime is a zeolite mineral. However, it is physically and chemically closer to the feldspathoids than a zeolite mineral. As the main mineral, analcime may be found in alkaline igneous rocks such as basalt and others. Prehnite, calcite, and zeolites may also be found in cavities and vesicles linked with the mineral.

  • Chabazite

Minerals like chabazite and gmelinite are tectosilicates of the zeolite category. Pseudo-cubic rhombohedral crystals form when chabazite condenses in the triclinic crystalline phase. Both interface twinning and penetrating twinning of the crystals are common occurrences. Any of these may be a variety of hues, from the colorless to the multicolored. It has a hardness of 3 to 5. The ions of sodium and calcium, and water molecules pass via open channels in the crystals, connecting aluminum, silicon, and oxygen atoms in a cage-like three-dimensional network. For water softeners, the presence of negative charges sites in the framed structure of chabazite is critical because it allows potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium to readily replace each other in the interstices (Kroes & Kouwenhoven, 1019). Several minerals in the chabazite family have a standard mode of distribution, physical and chemical characteristics, and internal structures, and they are all found in altered volcanic deposits. Gmelinite, erionite, and levyne make up the group. The three-dimensional structure of these minerals differs geometrically from that of chabazite and one another.

Zeolites Applications and Uses

Catalytic Applications

Several essential processes involving organic compounds need the use of zeolites as catalysts. Cracking, isomerization, and hydrocarbon synthesis are the three most critical processes. Acid-base and metal-induced processes may be catalyzed by zeolites, which have many applications. It is also possible to use zeolites as acid catalysts or as endorses for metal catalysts or chemical compounds. Zeolites may be used as shape-selective catalysts by electron transfer selection or excluding competing reactants based on molecular diameter (Rashid & Palanisamy, 2018). Oxidation catalysts are another use for these materials. Because the reactions may occur inside the zeolite’s pores, it’s possible to have more control over the final product. Petroleum refining, synfuels manufacturing, and petrochemical manufacturing are primary industrial applications. Petrochemical refineries rely heavily on synthetic zeolites as catalysts.

Heavy Metals Maintenance

Heavy metals enter the bloodstream through environmental contaminants (including poisons in the food we consume) because they concentrate in our body’s organs or tissues. They strain the liver’s capacity to process chemicals for utilization in the body and remove harmful compounds (Xie et al., 2021). The elements of zeolites have a strong affinity for retaining these heavy hazardous metals, causing significant impact in the risk mitigation of certain malignancies and heart disease-the, the two leading causes of death.

Elimination of Carcinogens and Aids in Healthy Digestion

Cleanse the body of carcinogens as well as improve digestion. Abnormal tissue and cells are left behind after oxidative stress and other toxins attack cells. Cancerous destruction begins with these mutated cells. Before they can damage our mitochondria or nucleic DNA, our cells must fight them off. In this battle, zeolites come in handy. Specifically, diarrhea has been treated with these silicate compounds (Rhodes, 2010). They have a strong affinity for ammonium ions, which means that the intestinal walls absorb less ammonia into the system. Zeolites minimize the harm to intestinal epithelial cells caused by ammonia, which is toxic to cells—this aids in the absorption of good nutrients.

Adsorption Applications

Zeolites may be utilized to adsorb a wide range of substances. Drying, filtration, and separation are all included in this. With a capacity of up to 25% of their weight in water, they are very efficient desiccants and can remove water down to shallow partial pressures. Remove volatile organic compounds from air streams and separate isomers and mixed gas mixtures. The separation of gases is joint for zeolites (Li & Yu, 2021). Porous zeolites may be employed to sieve molecules of a given size and let them into the pores via the absorbent structure. The structure may be varied to alter the size and amount of cations surrounding the pores, allowing this feature to be fine-tuned. It’s also possible to polymerize semi-conductive materials and organic polymers within the pore, creating materials with unique physical and electrical properties.

Applications in Ion Exchange

Zeolite pores contain loosely attached cations to the zeolite framework and may easily interchange with other cations in aqueous conditions. Water softening devices and the usage of zeolites in soaps and detergents are examples of this. Since they have supplanted phosphates as water softeners, detergent formulations are the most common area to find zeolites. The sodium in the zeolite is exchanged for the magnesium and calcium in the water to accomplish this (Alabbad, 2021). Even polluted water may be treated to eliminate radioactive ions.

Applications in Fighting Cancer and Balancing PH

The FDA has considered zeolites wholly safe and nontoxic. This mineral cannot have positively charged fibre particles, rough and angular. Zeolites can elicit positive physiological reactions in healthy individuals without causing any harm. Blood and other bodily fluids are regulated by a complex mechanism called homeostasis. Hydroxide ions are removed from the kidneys’ blood to maintain this equilibrium. Buffers are used in the system (Tom, 2015). Zeolites may alter the ionic content… The zeolite cage system may exchange for excess ions in the zeolite’s immediate surroundings. Buffering the neighboring system and maintaining a stable pH would have a positive influence on general health and well-being

Applications in Strengthening the Cardiovascular System and as a Super Antioxidant

By interfering with the ability of cells to heal themselves, oxygen-free radicals put our hearts, blood vessels, brains, and skeletal muscles at risk. Zeolites’ cage structure may aid to capture free radicals, inactivating them and limiting additional harm to nearby tissue, concerning its use as a super antioxidant, the free radicals, which are molecules and atoms with unpaired electrons, assault cell membranes and then damage DNA after they’ve made their way into the nucleus (Palevic, 2018). The antioxidant network can’t keep up as we age or as antigens rise and cells change, resulting in cancer and tumors, which may be prevented. In the antioxidant network, zeolites relieve some of the efforts and disrupt the chain reaction of oxidative damage.


In conclusion, zeolites are insoluble in water; hence aqueous detergent solutions may be filtered to remove zeolites from the water. The different compositions are used and applied over many fields, from detoxification to industrial applications. It’s possible to examine the zeolite extract for water softening, dehydration, ion exchange, and catalyst properties. Zeolites are unique in that they may be dried and rehydrated repeatedly without undergoing structural change. It’s also possible to take in gasses. Because the inner channel of zeolites is open, the solution may flow through them. Zeolites may be used to eliminate harmful pollutants from animal feed. Zeolites, which remove ammonia and other impurities, may also be used in aquariums. There are cations attached to the zeolite framework that other cations can easily replace under aqueous conditions. Zeolites have the potential to generate beneficial physiological responses in otherwise healthy people without posing any danger. A system known as homeostasis is responsible for keeping body fluids, such as blood, in balance. Porous zeolites may be utilized to sift molecules of a specific size and admit them into the pores through the porous structure they contain. The system may modify the size and number of cations around the pores, enabling this characteristic to be fine-tuned. It’s also feasible to polymerize semi-conductive materials and organic polymers inside the pore, generating materials with unique physical and electrical parts.


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