AAC has a long standing expertise in sol-gel chemistry, which is used for room temperature synthesis of metal oxides. Typical examples are Si and Ti oxides, formed from their respective alkoxides. Sol-gel chemistry is a unique way for nanoparticle synthesis and low temperature processes. The variation possibilities are almost endless and have recently also be expanded by hybrid materials, such as siloxanes with reactive groups (oxirane, isocyanate, etc.) to combine classic varnish/resin chemistry with the possibilities of sol-gel.
Nanostructured materials have received much attention recently due to their unusual properties such as optical, chemical, photochemical, and electronic properties (significantly different from the properties of their respective bulk materials). Syntheses of nanostructured or nanoparticulate materials generally use the bottom-up principle, i.e. starting from chemical (dissolved) precursors, instead of the top-down approach, i.e. reduction of size by milling.
The activities of AAC involving sol-gel related processes are diverse:
- Formation of nanoparticles (TiO2, SiO2, BaTiO3, rare earth phosphors, YSZ)
- Formation of ultrathin functional layers (refractive index, electrical conductivity, low adhesion, self cleaning/photocatalysis)
- Formulation of hybrid paint systems for easy-to-clean and anti-ice applications.