The mechanisms of gel formation in silicate systems derived from metal alkoxides were reviewed. There is compelling experimental evidence proving, that under many conditions employed in silica gel preparation, the resulting polysilicate species formed prior to gelation is not a dense colloidal particle of anhydrous silica but instead a solvated polymeric chain or cluster. The skeletal gel phase which results during desiccation is, therefore, expected to be less highly crosslinked than the corresponding melted glass, and perhaps to contain additional excess free volume. It is proposed that, during gel densification, the desiccated gel will change to become more highly crosslinked while reducing its surface area and free volume. Thus, it is necessary to consider both the macroscopic physical structure and the local chemical structure of gels in order to explain the gel to glass conversion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry