0,7/2 mm 2/5 mm
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0,7/2 mm 2/5 mm
Silicate of potassium, sodium and calcium. It's a volcanic rock with a high cation exchange capacity and water absorption thanks to the high content of "tectosilicatic" minerals such as chabasite and phillipsite.
The zeolite for horticultural use has to be imagined as a scaffold; within the spaces of the scaffold the nutrient are slowly released and only under request of the plants. The quality of the crop improves because the plants are never lacking nutrients, they also are not leached out during watering. The zeolite retains the same draining effect of pumice: on the one hand prevents water stagnation and rot, on the other allows soil aeration when dry.
Available sizes 0,7/2 mm 2/5 mm.
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Group of minerals consisting in 52 mineral species chemically defined "elements hydrated aluminosilicates of alkaline " (essentially, Na, K and Ca) and structurally constituted of feldspar, silica and minerals feldspathoids the family of tectosilicates. In this family of silicates, the primary structural units, tetrahedra [(Si,Al)O4], are connected together in the three directions to form three-dimensional scaffolds resulting relationship between the tetrahedral cation (Si, Al) and oxygen of 1:2.
Unlike what happens in other families of silicates where the same structural units are isolated (nesosilicate, eg. Olivine), connected in one direction (inosilicates, eg. Pyroxenes) or in two directions (fillosilcati, eg. Clay minerals), the three-dimensional scaffold of tectosilicates tetrahedral structures creates "open" structures for the presence of cavities extratetraedriccs volume increasing from feldspar and silica minerals to feldspathoids to zeolites.
The three-dimensional tetrahedral framework of the zeolites is "very open" (low-density tetrahedral) and, as such , has large internal cavities (20 to 50% of the volume of the crystal) communicating between them and with the outside through channels of molecular size (from 2.5 to about 7Å, 1Å=10-8 cm).
In their natural state, cavities and channels are occupied by cations (Na, K, Ca) and water molecules. The cations needed to balance the negative charges of the scaffold tetrahedral due to the partial replacement of Si4+ with Al3+, being weakly bound to the scaffold tetrahedral, enjoy a certain freedom of movement and can exit through the channels, cavities and then from the crystal only if replaced by other cations involving the same number of positive electric charge. This property, known as "cation exchange capacity" (CSC), has intensity (expressed in meq/g) increased with increasing the content of Al in the tetrahedra and ranges from about 2 meq/g in zeolites poor in Al (clinoptilolite, ferrierite mordenite) to 3-4 meq/g in zeolites rich in Al (chabasite, phillipsite). The water, from 10 to 20% by weight depending on the species zeolitic, can be easily and in a more or less continuously removed by heating below 300-350°C with no or modest modifications of the scaffold tetrahedral. .
Dehydrated zeolites so have a large internal surface (up to a few hundred m2 per gram of substance) available to accommodate more water molecules or other molecules with natural or induced polarity. The process dehydration-rehydration is reversible almost indefinitely and absorption of polar molecules is carried out according to a strict "selection" based " primarily" on the size of the molecules and, secondly, on their degree of polarity.
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