The unique properties of imogolite are closely related to its structure, which is a tube of 23–27 Å outer diameter and ∼10 Å inner diameter, with an AIOH outer surface and SiOH inner surface. Acid dispersions contain the long, positively-charged tubes as isolated units or small bundles, which form bulky gels in alkali, and flocculate with negatively-charged colloids, polyvalent anions, and long-chain anionic detergents. Sorption properties are associated with the 10 Å intra-tube pores and with inter-tube channels of variable dimensions. Surface acidity is less than that of layer-silicate clays. The chemical and mechanical stability, biological activity, film- and fibre-forming characteristics, and conditions of synthesis are reviewed, on the basis of both new and published findings. Areas of potential application are indicated.