Synthetic zeolites have a well-defined pore structure and adjustable acidity making them highly suitable for a large variety of chemical reactions. Therefore, zeolites are widely used as catalysts.
One important application of synthetic zeolites in the petrochemical industry is as catalysts, e.g. in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) and hydrocracking. Zeolites confine molecules in small spaces, which causes changes in their structure and reactivity. The hydrogen forms of zeolites - which are synthesized by ion-exchange - are powerful solid-state acids, and can facilitate acid-catalyzed reactions, such as isomerisation, alkylation, and cracking.