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|Sol-gel processing is rapidly becoming an important process for producing such advanced materials as high activity catalysts, fiber optics and ceramic precursors. These materials can be tailor made with properties unique to sol particles as well as the gel aggregates by controlling production of the sol, the formation of the gel, and the removal of the interstitial fluids. This paper presents colloidal and kinetic principles of sol generation and gel formation. Hydrolysis of alkoxides provides the best means of controlling sol production and electrostatic stabilization enables the formation of the most homogeneous gels. Gelation occurs by hierarchial aggregation which produces inhomogeneities much larger than the sol particles. Colloidal and kinetic principles can be applied to reduce the size of the inhomogeneities and obtain high performance transparent insulation and new ceramic composites.|