Molecular sieve

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Any microporous material that can selectively chemically or physically absorb molecules. Molecular sieves are used in purification and separation processes. Examples of molecular sieves are crystalline aluminophosphates (also called zeolites), Montmorillonite, Activated carbon, and Silica gel. Synthetic molecular sieves are produced in a range of pore sizes for specific applications 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10 angstroms in order to provide selective absorption. Most types of molecular sieves are aggressive desiccants. Molecular sieves are also used in size exclusion chromatography (SEC) to to separate molecules by size.

Synonyms and Related Terms

zeolite; molecular trap


  • Molecular separation
  • Desiccation of air and liquids

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