Our Technologies

Sol-Gel Technology

Sol-Gel Technology

The Sol-Gel technology enables the manufacturing of quartz glass without a melting process. This unique production method works on the principle of molding and gelling a liquid at room temperature. A final sintering process densifies the gel body to its final shape. This unique technology enables the manufacturing of very complex product structures made of clear and opaque quartz glass. Even very small structures and micro-structured surfaces can be manufactured simply, while achieving a very high geometric reproducibility.

 

The properties of the resulting Sol-Gel silica glass are equal to those of quartz glass manufactured by classical methods.

 

Strengths of this technology:

  • Products produced in highly pure synthetic fused quartz
  • 3-dimensional Near-Netshape-Fabrication
  • Products that meet high tolerance requirements
  • Impression of micro-structured surfaces


Process Steps

The process begins by mixing a silicon-based liquid called "sol". Sol contains all the components for the chemical reaction that takes place after the casting process.

    

 

The sol-gel processing results in gelation of the liquid and the quartz glass components therein. At this stage, the gel is formed in the shape of the finished glass piece.

    

In this solidified gel condition, the shaped parts are carefully removed from the mold and transferred to the next step.

    

Shrinkage occurs in a subsequent multi-stage drying process where all the liquid components are extracted. In this stage xerogel, which is an open-pored silica skeleton, is created.

In the final sintering step, the part is thermally compacted into a solid amorphous quartz glass, remaining below the melting temperature. The original shape of the casting is thereby reduced down to 50% in edge length with high dimensional accuracy.