Zeolite Structure

Natural zeolites’ three-dimensional honeycomb structure creates a framework through which liquid and gases can be exchanged. This unique structure and the ability to exchange or absorb substances enables it to be used in a wide variety of residential and commercial applications.

Natural Zeolites

The characteristics of a zeolite deposit are decided in it’s genesis. Small natural differences such as temperature, geographic location and ash/water properties impart a slightly different composition and therefore some unique properties to a few of the deposits. These small differences present during the formation of a zeolite deposit are the reason that each natural zeolite property has distinctly unique properties.

The alumina and silica from the ash stack into a stable, open and three three-dimensional honeycomb structure–there are over forty other natural zeolite structures. For example, clinoptilolite (clino) has a silica to alumina ratio of 5 to 1, while chabazite has a ratio of 2 to 1.

In the natural zeolite structure, the net negative charge within the symmetrical voids hold the cations for the cation exchange capacity (CEC). Ion exchangeable ions, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium, the major cations, are held electronically within the open structure (pore space)—up to 38% void space.


Commercially available natural zeolites are usually of the clinoptilolite (clino) variety which are known chemically as hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicates. Clino’s unique crystalline structure and extraordinary properties are present, regardless of the particle size. This structure never breaks down under extreme pressures, requires temperatures that melt glass to break down and it cannot be chemically changed except under extremely caustic or acid conditions. Degradation over time is impossible without one of the above conditions being present.

ZEO’s products Zar-Min, EcoSand, ZeoSand, ZeoFiber and Z-Ultra are clinoptilolite natural zeolites. Each product, however comes from a unique clino deposit that addresses the specific requirements of the end use. For instance, small amounts of transition cations account for the reported antifungal and antimicrobial activity in Zar-Min and EcoSand. EcoSand, because of it’s agricultural applications is a zeolite higher in potassium and calcium. Z-Ultra’s low bulk density, bright color and small particle size makes it a good fit for commercial applications where ultra high absorbency and dispersion are necessary.

It should be noted that each deposit ZEO uses for it’s products has been thoroughly characterized through core drilling and analysis by professionals in the mineral industry. The production of ZEO’s products is carefully monitored by quality control measures.

After 20 years of experience in the natural zeolite industry, F.L. “Pete” Bunger, PhD, President of ZEO, Inc. is recognized throughout the world as a technical resource on the commercial uses of natural zeolites.