Studies on the growth of ice crystal templates during the synthesis of a monolithic silica microhoneycomb using the ice templating method
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Porous materials with a wide variety of functions can be obtained through sol-gel synthesis. Recently, we found that sol-gel based materials can be molded into a monolithic microhoneycomb structure by simply freezing their parent hydrogels unidirectionally. The main feature of the monoliths obtained through this method, which we named the Ice Templating Method, is that they have straight and aligned macropores, the sizes of which are in the micrometer range. As these macropores are the traces of the ice crystals which are formed during freezing and which practically act as the template, the sizes as well as the shape of them depend on how the template ice crystals are formed and how they grow. Therefore in this work, the growth behavior of the ice crystals formed during the unidirectional freezing of a silica hydrogel was examined and the influences of this growth behavior on the properties of the resulting monoliths were verified.
KeywordsIce templating Freezing Sol-gel process Silica gel Monolith Microhoneycomb
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