Another important use for zeolites is as catalysts in drug (pharmaceutical) production and in the petrochemical industry, where they’re used in catalytic crackers to break large hydrocarbon molecules into gasoline, diesel, kerosene, waxes and all kinds of other byproducts of petroleum. Again, it’s the porous structure of zeolites that proves important. The many pores in a zeolite’s open structure are like millions of tiny test tubes where atoms and molecules become trapped and chemical reactions readily take place. Since the pores in a particular zeolite are of a fixed size and shape, zeolite catalysts can work selectively on certain molecules, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as shape-selective catalysts (they can select the molecules they work on in other ways beside shape and size, however). Like all catalysts, zeolites are reusable over and over again.