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Taking a page from computer-aided drug designers, Rice University researchers have developed a computational method that chemists can use to tailor the properties of zeolites, one of the world's most-used industrial minerals.
Zeolites (Greek, zein,"to boil";lithos,"a stone") are minerals that have a porous structure. There are about four dozen recognized naturally occurring zeolite minerals and as many or more synthetic varieties. They are basically hydrated alumino-silicate minerals with an "open" structure that can accommodate a wide variety of positive ions, such as Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+ and others. These positive ions are rather loosely held and can readily be exchanged for others in a contact solution. Some of...
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