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The Industrialized One

There are more than 50 types of natural zeolite mineral. Clinoptilolite (from the heulandite group) is the most common and suitable natural zeolite type for commercial and industrial applications. More than 90% of the world's zeolite production is clinoptilolite type of zeolite. Apart from natural ones, many synthetic zeolite are being developed around the world for custom applications.

Clinoptilolite possesses tetrahedral framework and form a continuous compositional series referred to as the heulandite group zeolites. For more technical information about zeolite please visit IZA's website.

The descriptive image of zeolite at the left is taken from ChemTube3D. Please visit their website for an informing 3d animation of clinoptilolite's tetrahedral structure and how it absorbs the cations into its cage like a magnet.

Currently most of the natural zeolite products at the market are clinoptilolite. However, not all zeolite products have a high content of clinoptilolite. The quality of a zeolite mineral totally depends on the clinoptilolite content of the product since the active agent (that can exchange cations) in the mineral is the clinoptilolite. Unfortunately at the market there are products that have clinoptilolite content as low as 50%, even sometimes 40%, which means that rest of the product is regular stone or clay.

Low quality products usually originate in China and are mostly used as aggregate. This aggregate quality clinoptilolite mineral shall not be compared with the high quality (min. 80% content) clinoptilolite minerals.

The clinoptilolite series comprises three species. Clinoptilolite-K, Clinoptilolite-Na, Clinoptilolite-Ca named after their dominant elements. These elements are exchanged during cation exchange in favor of heavy metals, toxins, ammonia etc. which have a higher attraction for the mineral. To check how these elements are placed inside the clinoptilolite structure please check The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules.