Enlargement of Halloysite Clay Nanotube Lumen by Selective Etching of Aluminum Oxide

Halloysite clay tubes have 50 nm diameter and chemically different inner and outer walls (inner surface of aluminum oxide and outer surface of silica). Due to this different chemistry, the selective etching of alumina from inside the tube was realized, while preserving their external diameter (lumen diameter changed from 15 to 25 nm). This increases 2–3 times the tube lumen capacity for loading and further sustained release of active chemical agents such as metals, corrosion inhibitors, and drugs. In particular, halloysite loading efficiency for the benzotriazole increased 4 times by selective etching of 60% alumina within the tubes’ lumens. Specific surface area of the tubes increased over 6 times, from 40 to 250 m2/g, upon acid treatment.