Preliminary results were previously reported indicating that uniform, hollow silica-aerogel spheres of controlled size and thickness can be fabricated by controlled hydrolysis and condensation of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS). The method consists of first producing a stream of hollow drops of a mixture of TEOS, H2O, ethanol, and a catalyst using a dual-nozzle system and then introducing the drops into a gelation chamber where the drops solidify into a rigid form while being levitated by a gelation gas mixture. A detailed further study designed to understand and control the kinetics of the sol-gel processing that is responsible for the hollow silica-aerogel sphere formation is described. Specifically, the optimal rheology and stoichiometry of the reactant solution, the make-up of the gelation/levitation gas mixture, and the characteristics of the resulting silica-aerogel spheres, such as the size, thickness, porosity, pore size, and density, are investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1735
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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