Sols, Gels, and Organic Chemistry

  • C. Barry Carter
  • M. Grant Norton


The sol–gel process consists of two steps. First we form a sol. Then we transform it into a gel. In ceramic synthesis, two different sol–gel routes have been identified and depend on the gel structure.


Ceramic Powder Metal Alkoxide Ceramic Fiber 29Si Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Silicon Tetrachloride 
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General References

  1. Bradley DC, Mehrotra RC, Rothwell I, Singh A (2001) Alkoxo and Aryloxo derivatives of metals. Academic, London, Still the essential reading if you want to find out more. It gives a detailed account of the history and synthesis of metal alkoxides, together with a full list of references. (Update of the 1978 edn)Google Scholar
  2. Brinker CJ, Scherer GW (1990) Sol–gel science: the physics and chemistry of sol–gel processing. Academic, Boston, This is the comprehensive treatment of sol-gel processing. It is the essential resource for those working (or planning to work) in this field. Brinker and Scherer and their coworkers have done extensive work on the densification of gels that form glasses. For more information and specifics on this topic, find these papers in your library. (Brinker CJ, Roth EP, Scherer GW, Tallant DR (1985) Structural evolution during the gel to glass conversion. J Non-Cryst Solid 71:171; Brinker CJ, Scherer GW, Roth EP (1985) Sol → gel → glass: II. Physical and structural evolution during constant heating rate experiments. J Non-Cryst Solids 72:345; Scherer GW, Brinker CJ, Roth EP (1985) Sol → gel → glass: III. Viscous sintering. J Non-Cryst Solid 72;369)Google Scholar
  3. Hübert T, Schwarz J, Oertel B (2006) Sol-gel alumina coatings on stainless steel for wear protection. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol 38:179–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Iler RK (1979) The chemistry of silica. Wiley, New York, Every aspect of the chemistry of silica in aqueous systems, including polymerization, gelation, gel structure, and applications is discussed in this classic textGoogle Scholar
  5. Johnson JF, Martin JR, Porter RS (1977) Determination of viscosity. In: Weissberger A, Rossiter BW (eds) Physical methods of chemistry, vol 1, Part 6 of Techniques of chemistry. Wiley, New York, pp 63–128, Detailed descriptions of measuring viscosityGoogle Scholar
  6. Rahaman MN (2003) Ceramic processing and sintering, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Covers sol-gel processing especially for drying proceduresGoogle Scholar
  7. Segal D (1989) Chemical synthesis of advanced ceramic materials. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Concise description of the various chemical routes to fabricate ceramics. Contains a large number of referencesCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Journals and Conferences

  1. For coverage of current sol-gel research, the most widely used journals are J Non-Cryst Solids, J Mater Res, J Am Ceram Soc, J Sol-Gel Sci Technol and J Mater Sci of courseGoogle Scholar
  2. The Materials Research Society sponsored a series ofmeetings since 1984 under the title Better Ceramics Through Chemistry and published proceedings.Google Scholar

Specific References

  1. Ebelman JJ, Bouquet M (1846) Sur de nouvelles combinaisions de l’acide borique avec les ethers et sur l’ether sulfureux. Ann Chem Phys 17:54–73, Ebelman was the first person to describe alkoxide synthesis. This paper reported the synthesis of boron methoxide, ethoxide, and pentoxide by reaction of boron trichloride with the appropriate alcohol. These alkoxides can be used in the synthesis of borosilicate glassesGoogle Scholar
  2. Piau JM, Bremond M, Couette JM, Piau M (1994) Maurice Couette, one of the founders of rheology. Rheol Acta 33(5):357–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Roy DM, Roy R (1955) Synthesis and stability of minerals in the system MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-H2O. Am Miner 40:147–178, For studying phase equilibria in minerals homogeneous samples are essential. Hydrolysis of alkoxides was used to synthesis the powders. Rustum Roy of Pennsylvania State University was one of the pioneers of using sol-gel techniques for preparing ceramicsGoogle Scholar
  4. Scherer GW (1990) Stress and fracture during drying of gels. J Non-Cryst Solids 121:104, Model for drying gelsCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Materials and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.School of Mechanical and Materials EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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