Halloysite (HNT) is treated with sulfuric acid and the physico-chemical properties of its morphology, surface activity, physical and chemical properties have been investigated when HNT is exposed to sulfuric acid with treatment periods of 1 h (H1), 3 h (H3), 8 h (H8), and 21 h (H21). The significance of this and similar work lies in the importance of using HNT as a functional material in nanocomposites. The chemical structure was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The spectrum demonstrates that the hydroxyl groups were active for grafting modification using sulfuric acid, promoting a promising potential use for halloysite in ceramic applications as filler for novel clay-polymer nanocomposites. From the X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectrum, it can be seen that the sulfuric acid breaks down the HNT crystal structure and alters it into amorphous silica. In addition, the FESEM images reveal that the sulfuric acid treatment dissolves the AlO6
octahedral layers and induces the disintegration of SiO4
tetrahedral layers, resulting in porous nanorods. The Bruncher-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area and total pore volume of HNTs showed an increase. The reaction of the acid with both the outer and inner surfaces of the nanotubes causes the AlO6
octahedral layers to dissolve, which leads to the breakdown and collapse of the tetrahedral layers of SiO4
. The multi-fold results presented in this paper serve as a guide for further HNT functional treatment for producing new and advanced nanocomposites.
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