Zeolite: Properties, Uses, and Production

Zeolites are aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as adsorbents and catalyst. Zeolites produced naturally by volcanic rock and synthetically by industries. The term of zeolite was found in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist, Axel Fredrik Cronstedt. In this article, we will know about the use of zeolites, properties of zeolites, how zeolites produced, and where is zeolites most produced.


Properties of Zeolite

Zeolite is a member of hydrated aluminosilicate that contain alkali and alkaline-earth metals. Zeolites have porous structure that able to bind and unbind variety of cations, such as Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and others. Example of minerals formula of zeolite is Na2Al2Si3O10.H2O. 

The Use of Zeolite

Zeolites commonly used as adsorbents and catalysts. Anyway, zeolite used by multisector industries. There are many industries that use zeolite as part of their production. The first sector that use zeolite is agriculture in general. With zeolite property of porous, zeolite can adsorb waters and cations. This is important for agriculture. For Example, zeolite can used for addition of fertilizers. With zeolite, plants can absorb macro-and-micro nutrients more effective. This will improve the growth and production of plants. Another sector of agriculture is aquaculture. In aquaculture, zeolites can absorb ammonia that produced by fish droppings which can decrease the quality of water. In animal husbandry, zeolites used as mix for feed. Zeolites make animal feed more efficient.

Other sector, zeolites can be used for the production of warm asphalt concrete. They will decrease the temperature level during manufacture resulting in lower consumption of fossil fuels. Zeolites are used as thermal collector and adsorption refrigeration. Zeolites also used in laundry detergent and many more.

How Zeolites Produced

Zeolite produced naturally or synthetically. Naturally, zeolite produced with eruption from  volcanoes. When volcanoes erupted, they will bring out lava and all materials from down earth, included zeolite minerals. Conventional open-pit-mining techniques are used to mine the natural zeolites. Then, zeolite will be processed into granular zeolite, crushed zeolite, and powder zeolite. The synthetic zeolite is processed by slow crystallization of a silica-alumina gel. Zeolite can also made with variety of atoms which can affect the properties of the product.

Where are Zeolites Mostly Produced

First of all, we know that zeolite can naturally produced or synthetically produced. Synthetic zeolite is most produce at china, in 2010 produce about 3 million tons of zeolites. While natural zeolite produced by places that have many volcanoes such as Indonesia. Indonesia rounded with ring of fire, which mean a lot of volcanoes. One of legal producer and exporter of natural zeolite in Indonesia is Nusagri. Nusagri has exported granular zeolites, crushed zeolites, and powder zeolites all over the world, mostly in India. Nusagri’s zeolite commonly used in agricultural multi-sector. They can be feed additive, mixed with fertilizer, or quality control of water.

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