Zeolites

Hit the category ‘Zeolites’ on the right to see the blog, or read on for a brief introduction..

Imagine your favourite cookie, the smell of warm chocolate wafting up from a freshly baked tray of them. Snap one in half, the chocolate oozing out of the little pores it made while baking, aromatic steam rising in the air. These aren’t just any cookies however. These cookies could save your life..

Sounds a bit far-fetched doesn’t it? But in the late 1980s after the Chernobyl disaster that is pretty much what some people from Bulgaria were faced with. What made these cookies so special? Minerals (not rocks Marie!). A special class of aluminium and silicon containing minerals called ‘zeolites’. Discovered in 1756 by the Swedish mineralogist Cronstedt but used by humanity in construction and farming for thousands of years, these minerals are very special.

Today they are used for everything from cat litter to growing plants in space, and it is very likely that you have used something relying on zeolites in the past hour without knowing it. What makes these boiling stones (zeo – to boil/simmer, lithos – stones) so special? Yup. You guessed it, structure.

Here I will be sharing my attempts, both success and failures, to print all 50 naturally occurring zeolite crystal structures. I’ll delve into more about what zeolites actually are, how we make them and where to find them as we go. Again I’ll share the structure files for printing and signpost you to my sources.

Print running total: 2/52

All .stl files:

LTA – Zeolite A:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3623903

FAU – Faujasite:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3676897

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