The aim with this work was to develop methods of modifying the surface of colloidal silica, to develop new applications, as well as to improve some existing applications. Aqueous silica sols have been used in a variety of applications over the years and there are an increasing number of applications for these kinds of materials, many of them environmentally driven. To give some examples; the development of waterborne low VOC coatings has lead to the need of silane modified colloidal silica that can enhance coating properties, being used as pigments dispersants and also fulfil the demands on shelf-life of such coating formulations. Lead-acid batteries with solid electrolyte are gaining new markets with the development of telecommunication and solar energy where such batteries are used as power sources/storage. The handling and working environment are significantly improved by using silica sols instead of fumed silica as a gelling agent for the acid.
Another example where the “green drive” has given opportunities for colloidal silica dispersions is in the construction field. The recycling of old concrete, increasing amounts of e.g., limestone fillers in concrete, and also the use of the cement kilns as incinerators for waste are producing cements of poorer quality, paving the way for concretes which are susceptible for bleeding, segregation and slow strength development. Addition of colloidal silica may remedy these shortcomings.