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Clinoptilolite is a natural zeolite composed of a microporous arrangement of silica and alumina tetrahedra. It has the complex formula: (Na,K,Ca)2-3Al3(Al,Si)2Si13O36·12H2O. It forms as white to reddish tabular monoclinic tectosilicate crystals with a Mohs hardness of 3.5 to 4 and a specific gravity of 2.1 to 2.2. It commonly occurs as a devitrification product of volcanic glass shards in tuff and as vesicle fillings in basalts, andesites and rhyolites. It was described in 1969 from an occurrence in Owl Canyon, San Bernardino County, California.

Clinoptilolite
Clinoptilolite-Na-269082.jpg
Clinoptilolite-Na
General
CategoryTectosilicates
Zeolites
Formula
(repeating unit)
(Na,K,Ca)2-3Al3(Al,Si)2Si13O36·12H2O
Strunz classification9.GE.05
Crystal systemMonoclinic
Unknown space group
Identification
Mohs scale hardness3 12 - 4
LusterVitreous
References[1][2]

It forms a series with heulandite:

  • Clinoptilolite-Ca – heulandite-Ca solid solution series
  • Clinoptilolite-K – heulandite-K solid solution series
  • Clinoptilolite-Na – heulandite-Na solid solution series

Use of clinoptilolite in industry and academia focuses on its ion exchange properties having a strong exchange affinity for ammonium (NH4+). A typical example of this is in its use as an enzyme-based urea sensor.[citation needed]

Research is generally focused around the shores of the Aegean Sea due to the abundance of natural clinoptilolite in easily accessible surface deposits.[citation needed]

The name is derived from the Greek words klino (κλίνω; "oblique"), ptylon (φτερών; "feather"), and lithos (λίθος; "stone").

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