top of page

Lab-Made vs. "Natural" Zeolite

Lab-made clinoptilolite zeolite is made in the laboratory under controlled conditions and with controlled composition. Mined zeolite is extracted from the earth in its natural form and is usually processed to remove attached impurities. Lab-grown zeolite can only contain the elements that are put in as part of the controlled process. Mined zeolite may contain trace amounts of many different kinds of elements. Of the 245 unique zeolite frameworks that have been identified by the International Zeolite Association Structure Commission, over 40 are naturally occurring.

Naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals, metals, quartz, or other zeolites. Some of these impurities are adsorbed inside the zeolite's pores, while others are an integral part of the structure. Acid treatments at high temperatures can remove many of these impurities, but as more structural atoms are extracted, the integrity of the zeolite framework becomes compromised, and the essential toxin-binding cages begin to collapse. At this point, the zeolite becomes increasingly less effective as regions inside the structure become blocked. In other words, increasing purity is balanced by decreasing function, and it is difficult to completely purify a naturally occurring zeolite from all its impurities and still retain full potency.

There are no such things as "different-sized zeolite molecules': The clinoptilolite zeolite in Advanced TRS is not a molecule of zeolite; it is a cluster of multiple Zeolite (Clinoptilolite) cages that together form an object that is only nanometers large. It is not possible to create a structural formula for a specific particle size; instead, structural formulas are created on the basis of the zeolite's unit cell, the minimum size repeating unit. This formula is the same regardless of particle size.

The crystal structure of Clinoptilolite has large 12-ring pores; the effective pore size of the zeolite excludes molecules larger than ~0.9 nm. Because of its wide use in agriculture and industry, Clinoptilolite has been named the mineral of the 21st century by The International Mineralogical Association. Clinoptilolite has been used with

success in animal feed at less than 2% by weight and for the purpose of an anti-caking flow agent.

To produce pure, lab-made Clinoptilolite, silica, alumina, and alkali sources with an initial Si/Al ratio from 3.0 to 5.0 are heated in an autoclave for 1-10 days at a temperature range from 120 to 195 °C. The Clinoptilolite begins to assemble in tiny crystals, whose crystallization rate and crystallinity are controlled by seeding and manipulating the reaction conditions. Instead of direct heat, microwave, ultrasound and high pressure may be used.


bottom of page