Abstract To avoid breaking of the gel during drying any organic solvent such as ethanol has not been used. When the amount of HCl is increased and the mixture is stirred vigorously, a transparent silica sol can be prepared immediately with only Si(OC 2H 5) 4 and H 2O. By adjusting the amount of HCl and the temperature, the sol may gel at any time, even in 5 min at room temperature. Such a gel may be dried without cracking under completely open conditions. The addition of glycol as a complex agent can apparently increase the pore size of the gel and decrease its capillary force and surface tension. So, large dried gels can be made in a rather short time. For example, a dried gel of diameter 68 mm and thickness 13 mm can be made in only 4 days. Because of the large pores, the dried gels can be sintered to monolithic silica glasses of practical size with a rather fast heating rate. The mechanisms in the whole process have been explored.