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The luck of the four-leaf zeolite.

Zeolite crystals delight chemists with their unusual - and very functional - internal structures. Most of these labyrinthine molecules include aluminum or silicon atoms arranged in rings that link to form channels and cages within the crystal. By making different kinds of zeolites, chemists have produced molecular sieves essential for refining petroleum and for separating out vapors and other products small enough to fit through the zeolite's tiny openings.

French and Swiss scientists have now expanded zeolite's potential with a new version whose pores and channels dwarf those of other zeolites. Made from gallium and phosphate, this zeolite has pores consisting of 20 atoms that link to form an opening shaped like a four-leaf clover. The new compound "provides new possibilities for shape-selective sorption," the group reports in the July 25 Nature.

The researchers, led by Henri Kessler of the National Superior School of Chemistry in Mulhouse, France, call their creation "cloverite."
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Title Annotation:new, larger form shaped like a four-leaf clover and called 'cloverite'
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 3, 1991
Words:150
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