Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. The term zeolite was originally coined in 1756 by Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who observed that rapidly heating the material, believed to have been stilbite, produced large amounts of steam from water that had been adsorbed by the material. Based on this, he called the material zeolite, from the Greek ζέω (zéō), meaning "to boil" and λίθος (líthos), meaning "stone". The classic reference for the field has been Zeolite molecular sieves: structure, chemistry, and use by Donald W. Breck.
Zeolites occur naturally but are also produced industrially on a large scale. As of September 2016, 232 unique zeolite frameworks have been identified, and over 40 naturally occurring zeolite frameworks are known. Every new zeolite structure that is obtained has to be approved by the International Zeolite Association Structure Commission and receives a three letter designation.