Gels and gel-derived glasses in the system Na2O-B2O3-SiO2The containerless melting of high-purity multicomponent homogeneous gels and gel monoliths offers a unique approach to making ultrapure multicomponent optical glasses in the reduced gravity environment of space. Procedures for preparing and characterizing gels and gel-derived glasses in the system Na2O-B2O3-SiO2 are described. Preparation is based on the polymerization reactions of alkoxysilane with trimethyl borate or boric acid and a suitable sodium compound. The chemistry of the gelling process is discussed in terms of process parameters and the gel compositions. The physicochemical nature of gels prepared by three different procedures was found to be significantly different. Infrared absorption spectra indicate finite differences in the molecular structures of the different gels. The melting of the gel powders and the transformation of porous gel monoliths to transparent 'glass' without melting are described.
Mukherjee, S. P. (Battelle Columbus Laboratories Columbus, OH, United States)