A natural zeolite crystal of scolecite, similar to the minerals described by Charles Darwin in 1832
Researchers from Loughborough University and the University of Southampton are studying how zeolites, or 'holey rocks' can be developed and used for a broad range of applications and materials that can change the way we live.
"Zeolites have hidden roles in the production and function of many consumer products, but are generally unrecognised by the public," says Dr Sandie Dann from Loughborough University. "By understanding their structure and creating new synthetic zeolites, we can expand their uses to create the next generation processes and products to improve our lives and environment."
Zeolites are materials and natural minerals with porous, cage-like structures. They can perform ion exchange, filtering, odour removal, chemical sieving and gas absorption. They are already used in everyday products such as washing powder and air fresheners. With the testing of existing zeolites and the creation of new ones, these ‘holey rocks’ can help create new processes for cleaner fuel, targeted drug delivery and specialist colour-changing optical materials.
Zeolites have already contributed to a cleaner and safer environment by reducing toxic waste and energy consumption. We need to understand their structure to expand their applications and create new zeolites," says Sandie.