SILICA MORPHOLOGY CHARACTERIZED BY SEM - THE EFFECTS OF THE SOLVENT TREATMENT AND THE DRYING PROCESS
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Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to investigated the effects of volatile solvents (such as water, propanone, ethanol, methanol or ethyl ether), treatment and drying processes, microwave ovens, drying ovens, and vacuum desiccators or freeze driers, on silica morphology. Silica gel was obtained from diluted sodium silicate (1:5 w/w SiO2:H2O). The results showed that the drying process based on freeze drying is more efficient for structural conservation of the precipitate. Treatment with volatile solvents does not change the shape of the aggregates, but has an important role in the determination of aggregate surface roughness.