New types of conducting composites using red mud as an inorganic substrate and polyaniline as the conducting phase were prepared. Red mud/polyaniline (RM/PANI) composites were synthesized in acidic aqueous solution by the chemical oxidative polymerization of aniline using ammonium peroxydisulfate as the oxidant. The composites exhibit conductivities in the 0.42-5.2 S cm(-1) range, depending on the amount of polyaniline. They were characterized by infrared and UV-vis spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The IR and X-ray results show that PANI is deposited on the RM surface. The composites have a globular structure and the PANI globules synthesized on the surface of RM are smaller than those prepared under the same conditions without the substrate. Thermogravimetric analysis was used for investigation of the thermal stability of the composites. The thermal stability of the conductivity of RM/PANI composites was studied by ageing at 125 degrees C, the conductivity being measured in situ during this process. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.