Pickering Emulsions Based on Wax and Halloysite Nanotubes: An Ecofriendly Protocol for the Treatment of Archeological Woods

Lorenzo Lisuzzo, Theodore Hueckel, Giuseppe Cavallaro, Stefano Sacanna, Giuseppe Lazzara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A novel green protocol for the consolidation and protection of waterlogged archeological woods with wax microparticles has been designed. First, we focused on the development of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) based Pickering emulsions using wax as the inner phase of the oil-in-water droplets. The optimization of the preparation strategy was supported by both optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, which allowed us to show the morphological features of the prepared hybrid systems and their structural properties, i.e., the distribution of the clay at the interface. Also, the dependence of the overall dimensions of the prepared systems on the halloysite content was demonstrated. Microdifferential scanning calorimetry (μ-DSC) was conducted in order to assess whether the thermal properties of the wax are affected after its interaction with HNTs. Then, the Pickering emulsions were employed for the treatment of waterlogged wooden samples. Compared to the archeological woods treated with pure wax, the addition of nanotubes induced a remarkable improvement in the mechanical performance in terms of stiffness and flexural strength. The proposed protocol is environmentally friendly since water is the only solvent used throughout the entire procedure, even if wax is vehiculated into the pores at room temperature. As a consequence, the design of wax/halloysite Pickering emulsions represents a promising strategy for the preservation of wooden artworks, and it has a great potential to be scaled up, thus becoming also exploitable for the treatments of shipwrecks of large size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1651-1661
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021


  • Pickering emulsion
  • halloysite
  • nanocomposite
  • nanotubes
  • wax
  • wood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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