Porous, multicomponent gels were converted to dense glasses at temperatures less than 700°C and at heating rates ranging from 0.5 to 40°C/min. The results of shrinkage, weight loss and differential scanning calorimetry experiments were used to elucidate mechanisms responsible for gel densification. We propose that: (1) capillary contraction, (2) condensation polymerization, (3) structural relaxation, and (4) viscous sintering are the principal gel densification mechanisms. Condensation-polymerization and structural relaxation result in skeletal densification, the magnitude of which closely accounts for all the observed shrinkage between 150 and 525°C. Viscous sintering is the predominant shrinkage mechanism above 525°C. Due to the complex interdependency of the densification mechanisms, the kinetics of gel densification depend strongly on thermal history and, therefore, general constant heating rate analyses are inappropriate for deriving meaningful kinetic information regarding the gel → glass conversion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry