The volume fraction dependent morphological transition of droplets during the evaporation of colloidal silica solution was investigated using the spray-drying method. The colloidal solution was prepared from sodium silicate using the sol-gel method. Spray drying with a tubular reactor was used in the experiment, with the volume fraction of the colloidal silica varying from 15 to 2%. It was demonstrated that a morphological transition from a sphere shape to a donut-like shape takes place at a colloidal volume fraction of between 4% and 2%, even when the drying rate remains moderate and is not extremely fast. A spherical silica particle shape was found at a colloidal volume fraction of between 15% and 8%. The morphological transition depends strongly on the volume fraction of the colloids in the droplets. Further, the ζ-potential of the particles in the droplet also affects the transition by applying an interparticle electrostatic force. The same high surface charge of sol silica provides a repulsive interaction between the sol particles inside the droplet. The transition is hindered when the colloid volume fraction is increased because of the inherent spatial constraint. The Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectra of both the spherical and donut-like particles confirm the chemical bonding of the powder silica product. Moreover, X-ray diffractometry (XRD) analysis revealed an amorphous phase of the silica particles produced from spray drying. These preliminary results open up a new path for controlling the formation of a wide variety of silica particles using the spray-drying method. In addition, the different silica particle morphologies enable a variety of particle applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-612
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Colloidal silica
  • Particle morphology
  • Sodium silicate
  • Spray drying
  • Volume fraction


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