There are numerous topics in chemistry for UPSC which are important, one of them is zeolites and this is the article that provides all the details about the zeolites in chemistry, the process where zeolites are used to soften hard water, are zeolites safe or not and the structure.

UPSC has many questions that are having zeolites and it is a very significant topic in the UPSC examination and one who is opting for chemistry also as one of their subjects this article is very crucial for you all and they should always look out for articles like these. Read the full article to know more.

Also Read: UPSC Study Time Table 2021: The Ultimate UPSC Preparation Schedule to Crack the Exam

What is Zeolite in Chemistry?

Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals naturally used as marketable adsorbents and impetuses. The phrase zeolite was initially stamped in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who examined that promptly warming a substance, speculated to have been stilbite, generated enormous percentages of vapour from a liquid that had been absorbed by the substance.

Established on this, he named the substance zeolite, from the Greek ζέω (zéō), connotation “to boil” and λίθος (líthos), with the connotation “stone”. The particular quotation for the area has prevailed Breck’s book Zeolite Molecular Sieves: its Structure, its Chemistry and its use.

They exist commonly but are also generated industrially in an enormous order. As of December 2018, 245 different zeolite frameworks have been recognized, and over 40 naturally happening zeolite shelves are known. Every modern zeolite configuration that is attained is assessed by the International Zeolite Association Structure Commission and obtains three information nominations.

Zeolite: Facts to Know for UPSC 

#They are very strong and solid under various environmental circumstances. The melting degree of the substance is extremely elevated, i.e.1000oC.

#They are insoluble in H2O or other inorganic solutions.

#They do not undergo oxidation in the existence of air.

#The individual commodity of the substance is their free cage-like receptacle configuration that enables the substance to tangle moisture and ions of potassium and calcium.

#The normal form of the substance occurs in spontaneous aspects and pore extent is not identical whereas artificial zeolites are synthesized in a relatively accurate way with identical pore amounts.

#The substances that are abundant in alumina are persuaded to polar molecules like H2O whereas zeolites rich in silica are enthusiastic towards nonpolar molecules.

#Since they are not reactive and are attained from commonly happening minerals, accordingly, they do not retain any destructive environmental consequences; although skin touch or inhalation may retain a carcinogenic consequence.

Types of Zeolites 

They are either constructed commonly or can be synthesized. There are 50 numerous categories of the substance accessible nowadays.


#Na2K2CaMg(AlO2)2(SiO2)2.6H2O (Erionite)

#Na2Ca(AlO2)2(SiO2)4.6H2O (Gemelinite)

#Hx[(AlO2)x(SiO2)96−x].16H2O (ZSM-5)

Natural zeolites:  They primarily originate in volcanic and sedimentary stones.


#Clinoptilolite (Clino) zeolite has a silica to alumina ratio of 5 to 1 percentage.

Clino zeolite does not crack in the interior of an acidic habitat and is considerably used in the farming enterprise as a feed addition and soil modification.

#Na56(AlO2)56(SiO2)136.250H2O (Faujasite)

Synthesized zeolites: They are generated by energy-consuming procedures. Several artificial zeolites have furthermore stood synthesized for a particular objective, the prominent instance is substance  A which is normally utilized in laundry detergent. Artificial zeolite will retain silica to alumina percentage of 1 to 1.


#[Na12(AlO2)12(SiO2)12.27H2O]8 (Linde-A)

Zeolite Process 

For softening of water by the substance technique, heavy water is percolated at a stipulated probability through a bed of zeolite. It clasps sodium ions loosely and can be affected as Na2Z, where Z depicts an insoluble extreme receptacle.

When the liquid ratifies through the substance the hardness affecting ions (Ca+2, Mg+2 etc.) are maintained by the substance as CaZ and MgZ respectively, while the congenial liquid comprises a comparable amount of sodium salts.

Ca(HCO3)2    +    Na2Z     ®      CaZ     +    2NaHCO3

Mg(HCO3)2    +    Na2Z     ®      MgZ     +    2NaHCO3

CaSO4    +    Na2Z     ®      CaZ     +    Na2SO4

CaCl2    +    Na2Z     ®      CaZ     +    2NaCl

MgSO4    +    Na2Z     ®      MgZ     +    Na2SO4

MgCl2    +    Na2Z     ®      MgZ     +    2NaCl

Later, when the substance is totally altered into calcium and magnesium zeolites, again it gets depleted (moistened with Ca+2 and Mg+2 ions) and it vanishes to soften water. It can be regenerated and again used by feasting it with a 10% brine (sodium chloride) treatment.

CaZ    +    2NaCl     ®      Na2Z     +    CaCl2

MgZ    +    2NaCl     ®      Na2Z     +    MgCl2

Is Zeolite Safe?

Effects on patients and caregivers.

#Erionite, a variety of normal fibrous zeolite, can affect cancer when breathed. There is no information on additional aspects of substance cancer.

#Vulkansandkuren, a zeolite commodity exchanged in Europe, was established to comprise elevated degrees of enormous metals encompassing nickel, mercury, cadmium, copper, arsenic, lead and chromium.

#Do not correlate fluid zeolite immediately into eyes or ears.

Also Read: UPSC Medical Science Optional Syllabus 2021: Here’s the Syllabus for UPSC Optional Subjects

Zeolite Structure 

The crystalline configuration of the substance is extremely distinct as distinguished from other crystalline solid. It can be evaluated as a particular crystalline solid possessing an individual receptacle configuration with compartments inhabited by ions and liquid molecules that have substantial independence of tendency.

Application of Zeolites

Some of the greatly popular uses of zeolites are as observed.

Ion Exchange

The cage-like hierarchy of the substance makes them very helpful in the commerce of ions. For instance, hard water is ratified through a section restored with sodium-containing zeolites. In this procedure, calcium and magnesium get arrested by the substance and sodium ions get published which conclude in softening of water making liquid rich in sodium. Presently zeolites are also existing used in detergent for the disposal of magnesium and calcium thereby creating the water softer and boosting the convincingness of the detergent.

As Catalyst

They are utilized as a catalyst in numerous significant conclusions such as breaking, isomerization and hydrocarbon synthesis. The permeable configuration of the substance makes it a highly helpful catalyst. Moreover, pores in a special substance exist of stabilized posture and quantity preparing the substance demanding on distinct molecules, accordingly, it is occasionally pertained to as shape-selective catalysis.


They have a very elevated adsorbing ability and are utilized to adsorb a mixture of substances. They have a broad spectrum of petitions in the area of cleansing, warming and divergence.

Separation of Harmful Substances

They can effectively eliminate radioactive components from nuclear destruction. It can moreover be utilized to rinse water or surface polluted with enormous harmful metals.


Appreciating this subject, there are numerous more topics associated with chemistry in the UPSC curriculum. A candidate must maintain a path of all the topics, themes and developments related to chemistry as well as other topics. You can browse daily science magazines or go through the information accessible on the internet. This conventional habit can be helpful for you to pass the UPSC exam.

For identical UPSC topics like Zeolites in chemistry, go through the blog category of UPSC Pathshala.

Good luck!!!

Also Read: UPSC Chemistry Optional Syllabus: Start your Preparation with Complete Knowledge

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Sakshi Bachani is a freelance Content Writer and Teacher. She has completed her Bachelor's degree from Delhi University.. She has been a freelance teacher for the past five years and has worked towards helping young kids achieve their dreams. She had also worked as an Intern teacher with an NGO. Apart from writing and teaching, she really enjoys music, animals, and plants. She even has her own little garden which she loves very dearly and can be sometimes seen buying more plants for herself.

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