Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 174–180

Effect of synthesis conditions on the microstructure of TEOS derived silica hydrogels synthesized by the alcohol-free sol–gel route

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10971-011-2478-8

Cite this article as:
Perullini, M., Jobbágy, M., Bilmes, S.A. et al. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (2011) 59: 174. doi:10.1007/s10971-011-2478-8


Silica matrices synthesized from a pre-hydrolysis step in ethanol followed by alcohol removal at low pressure distillation, and condensation in water, are suitable for encapsulation of biomolecules and microorganisms and building bioactive materials with optimized optical properties. Here we analyze the microstructure of these hydrogels from the dependence of I(q) data acquired from SAXS experiments over a wide range of silica concentration and pH employed in the condensation step. From the resulting data it is shown that there is a clear correlation between the microscopic parameters—cluster fractal dimension (D), elementary particle radius (a) and cluster gyration radius (R)—with the attenuation of visible light when the condensation step proceeds at pH < 6. At higher pHs, there is a steep dependence of the cluster density (~RD−3) with the condensation pH, and non-monotonous changes of attenuance are less than 20%, revealing the complexity of the system. These results, which were obtained for a wide pH and silica concentration range, reinforce the idea that the behavior of gels determined in a restricted interval of synthesis variables cannot be extrapolated, and comparison of gelation times is not enough for predicting their properties.


Silica hydrogelsTEOS alcohol-freeSAXS microstructure characterizationOptical quality

Supplementary material

10971_2011_2478_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1636 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INQUIMAE-DQIAQF, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad UniversitariaBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.ECyTUniversidad Nacional de San MartínBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Institute of Physics Gleb WataghinState University of CampinasCampinasBrazil