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Magic stones

This informal discussion is ideal for post-16 students and anyone curious of what materials chemistry is all about.

Zeolites are an important class of minerals, which consist of nanometre-sized pores and channels: like the holes in a sponge but the size of molecules and perfectly ordered. Since their discovery 250 years ago, they have both fascinated scientists and become cornerstones of many industrial processes. For example, the mineral Lapis Lazuli was used as pigment by the Ancient Egyptians, being the bright blue colouration on Tutankhamen’s mask. In more recent times, synthetic zeolites have been applied as catalysts for the cracking of crude oil into petrol, as water softeners in detergents and to entomb the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. But even after 100 years of research, these materials continue to amaze us. For example, recently they have been found to expand when squeezed and contract on heating! Sam and Dewi will discuss how the microporous structure of these materials gives rise to their incredible chemistry.


Dr Sam French | talks | www
Dr Dewi Lewis | talks | www


Date and Time:

5 October 2004 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
+44 20 74 09 29 92

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£5, free to Members of the Royal Institution

Available from:

020 7409 2992

Additional Information:

Nearest tube: Green Park

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