Cryogenic transmission electron Microscopy (cryo-TEM) and rheological characterization were conducted in order to understand structural development of vanadium pentoxide gels during processing. Sols were prepared by ion exchange from sodium metavanadate solutions. Cryo-TEM revealed that fine threads about 1.5nm wide initially form and grow into ribbons approximately 25nm wide and at least 1000nm long. The threads appear to self assemble into the ribbons. During this structural development, the dynamic viscosity increased. Upon steady shearing of the sols, the system exhibited thixotropy, i.e. the viscosity decreased with time under constant shear stress and subsequently rheopexy, the viscosity increased with time. Comparison of the structure before and after shearing indicated that during the rheological experiments aggregation of small particles or fragments was occurring.
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Bailey, J.K., Nagase, T., Pozarnsky, G.A. et al. Vanadium Pentoxide Gels: Structural Development and Rheological Properties. MRS Online Proceedings Library 180, 759 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-180-759