Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 255–262 | Cite as

Multiwave rheology and dynamic light scattering characterizations for a two-step sol-gel transition of tetraethoxysilane hydrolysis and condensation

  • Xingqun Zhu
  • Yongfei Yang
  • Zhou Zheng
  • Bin XiangEmail author
  • Xudong CuiEmail author
Original Paper: Sol-gel, hybrids and solution chemistries


In this article, we studied the multiwave rheology properties of a two-step tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) hydrolysis, as well as condensation processes and optimized particle synthesis conditions by focusing on the colloidal particle aggregation and growth behavior. Combining with the dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique, we systematically investigated the gelation process, network structure, overall apparent activation energy, DLS size growth trend and complex viscosity. Our results revealed that the overall apparent activation energy of the two-step-catalyzed process was lower than that of the single step and the gelation time was decreased with an increase in water-TEOS molar ratio. During our studies, we successfully simplified the rheological measurement for the two-step process by setting the base addition moment as the zero time. This method can also be applied for structure and density tuning, providing a new path to successfully synthesize customized materials in a sol-gel process.

The five-stage scheme of the sol-gel transition. The viscosity and DLS size curves were divided into five parts. Based on this route and combined with rheological measurements, the control of our sol-gel process can be realized and eventually obtained desired features.


  • Investigate the gelation time and the gel structure of a two-step sol-gel process by combining MWDT with DLS method.

  • The rheological measurement for the two-step process was simplified by setting the base addition moment as the zero time.

  • The synthetic strategy can be applied to other sol-gel systems for structure and density tuning.


Rheology Sol-gel transition Dynamic light scattering Gel point Viscosity 



This work was supported by the joint fund of the National Natural Science Foundation Committee of China Academy of Engineering Physics (NSAF) (U1630108) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFA0402902). This work was partially carried out at the USTC Center for Micro and Nanoscale Research and Fabrication. We also thank Hongbo Ren for the contribution to the work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10971_2018_4788_MOESM1_ESM.docx (69 kb)
Supplementary Information


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Photonic Technology Research and Development CenterQuanzhou Normal UniversityFujianChina
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science & Engineering, CAS Key Lab of Materials for Energy Conversion, Synergetic Innovation Center of Quantum Information & Quantum PhysicsUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  3. 3.Sichuan New Materials Research CenterInstitute of Chemical Materials, CAEPChengduChina

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