The Uses of Zeolites
Zeolites as an adsorbent
Zeolites are inert and extremely durable; they can withstand elevated temperatures, heavy loads, will remain free-flowing immersed in water, and will not disintegrate when exposed to air.
Zeolites are commonly applied as an adsorbent because of its construction and due to their ability to be regenerated over and over again for re-use; many times designed to attract molecules for a specific use.
These adsorbents are universally known as molecular sieves, sieves being the relative term. The pore size is designed to trap and or filter certain molecules as fluid moves through its framework.
One area is in plant growth. Zeolites help in time releasing nutrients to root systems because they retain the fertilizer close to the plant, instead of allowing the nutrients to seep deep into the soil where moisture can pull it away; minimizing additional need for more compost. The effective feeding of plants round the clock produces larger yields and improves soil over time. In the case of aquaculture zeolites reduce ammonia levels in water systems.
Ammonia toxicity is a problem in animal stockyards and fish hatcheries as well due to the high amount of waste output; zeolites decrease these ammonia levels.
Another area is pollution control such as in mining where dangerous levels of heavy metals can result. Zeolites extract the metal waste (sludge) from the water. Or in the case of natural gas, zeolites filter out water, sulfur and carbon dioxides.
Zeolites aid in the curing of concrete by controlling the moisture content, when concrete dries at a slower rate it produces a stronger bond than left to dry quickly. This is especially important in the construction of nuclear and petrochemical facilities where biohazards must be contained.
Zeolites can also be found in detergent products to soften hard water by extracting certain minerals; softer water allows the detergents to be more effective in their intended purpose.
Zeolites or Molecular Sieves have evolved into one of the best in reliability for a variety of applications.
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