The greek word, “Zeo”, means to boil, and “lithos” means stone, thus zeolite means the rock that boils.
Because of their unique porous properties, zeolites are used in a variety of applications .
What are zeolites ? Zeolites are honeycomb like small rigid crystals working much like a sponge. When heated, the pores open. Acting like squeezed sponges, zeolites filter substances by trapping large molecules. This helps some chemical reactions to take place. For instance, zeolites in laundry detergent exchange magnesium and calcium ions from hard water with their own sodium ions. That exchange improves the lathering effect of the detergent in the water, which has now become soft due to the exchange of ions. Referred to as molecular sieves, zeolites contribute to a clean, safe environment in various different ways. They are often used to remove toxic wastes, in water softening and purification, and in the separation and removal of gases and solvents. They are therefore used to filter air and water to help clean up the environment..
In golf courses, zeolites help hold water and distribute plant nutrients throughout the grass. The crystal structures can be loaded with nitrogen and potassium required by the plants and combined with other slow-dissolving salts such as calcium and phosphorus. The zeolites store this multivitamin combination for plants and release it slowly as and when needed for growth. This method has the added advantage of preventing loss of water and nutrients to the ground.