Zeolites are three-dimensional crystalline solids containing aluminium, silicon, and oxygen in their regular three dimensional framework. They are hydrated sodium alumino silicates with general formula NaO.(Al2O3).x(SiO2).yH2O (x=2 to 10; y=2 to 6).
Zeolites have porous structure in which the monovalent sodium ions and water molecules are loosely held. The Si and Al atoms are tetrahedrally coordinated with each other through shared oxygen atoms. Zeolites are similar to clay minerals but they differ in their crystalline structure.
Zeolites have a three dimensional crystalline structure looks like a honeycomb consisting of a network of interconnected tunnels and cages. Water molecules moves freely in and out of these pores but the zeolite framework remains rigid. Another special aspect of this structure is that the pore/channel sizes are nearly uniform, allowing the crystal to act as a molecular sieve. We have already discussed in XI standard, the removal of permanent hardness of water using zeolites.
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