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Halloysite Nanotubes as Nano-Carriers of Corrosion Inhibitors in Cement Formulations
* 1 , 2 , 2
1  Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff” & CSGI, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino 50019, Florence, Italy
2  Department of Chemistry “Ugo Schiff” & CSGI, University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino 50019, Florence, Italy (registering DOI)

The ingress of water, as a vehicle for many harmful substances, is the main cause of all the major physical and chemical degradation processes affecting concrete buildings. To prevent damage and protect concrete surfaces, coatings are generally used. Cement-based coatings in particular can act as a physical barrier and reduce the permeability of surfaces. In case of chloride-induced corrosion, corrosion inhibitors are also generally used, and nano-carriers have been proven to provide a long-term protective effect. In this work, we designed a surface protection cementitious coating enhanced with nano-silica and halloysite nanotubes (HNTs). HNT nanoclays are reinforcing fibres made of layered mineral silicate, perfectly compatible with the evolving phases commonly present in a cement paste. HNTs were loaded with a corrosion inhibitor, benzotriazole (BTA), and used as nano-reservoir, while nano-silica was used to improve the structure of the protective coating and to strengthen its adhesion to the surface of application. The cementitious coatings were characterized with a multi-technique approach including thermal and spectroscopic analysis, scanning electron microscopy, specific surface area and pore size distribution, and Vickers hardness test. The release of BTA was monitored through UV-vis analysis, and the transportation of BTA through coated mortars was studied in simulated rain conditions. We evidenced that the presence of silica densifies the porous structure and increases the interfacial bond strength between the protective coating and the surface of application. As a result, we show how HNTs can be used as nano-carriers for the slow delivery of anti-corrosion molecules in cement mortars.

Keywords: halloysite nanotubes; nano-silica; release of active molecules; restoration of monuments; anticorrosive molecules; corrosion inhibitors