Hydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic – What’s the Difference?

hydrophobic vs hydrophobicHydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic

Today’s technical terminology can be dizzying. On an average day here at HZO you hear people throw around words like nanotechnology, and vapor deposition as casually as if they were talking about their neighbor’s cat.

Today we are going to decipher a few of these words, and talk more about what two of these terms in particular, “hydrophilic” and “hydrophobic,” actually mean. Along the way, we will clarify how the two are similar and different, and show which one applies to our very own HZO technology.

Curious? Keep on reading.

What Does Hydrophilic Mean?

Hydrophilic, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is, “of, relating to, or having a strong affinity for water.” This essentially means the ability to mix well, dissolve, or to be attracted to water.

What does Hydrophobic Mean?

Hydrophobic, defined by the same dictionary, is defined as, “resistant to or avoiding wetting.” Practically the opposite of hydrophilic!

What’s the difference between the two?

According to these straight definitions, we can see that these two terms are opposites. Something defined as hydrophilic is actually attracted to water, while something that is hydrophobic resists water. This means when hydrophobic items come in contact with liquids, water is encouraged to bead up and roll off the surface- almost pushing it away like a magnet pushes away metal objects.

A great example of something that is hydrophilic is self-cleaning glass. This special glass has been engineered and coated with a nano-sized, thin-film. Instead of allowing water to form into water droplets that bead up and roll off of the glass, this cool nanotechnology helps tiny water molecules to glide over the surface in a sheet, washing dirt or other debris away.

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For an example of a hydrophobic substance, look no further than HZO technology. Our thin-film nano-coating encourages water and other liquids to bead up and roll off whatever it is applied to, be it cell phone, tablet, or tiny circuit board. Although this isn’t the main property of our different coatings (we would rather brag about the actual physical barrier it creates between liquids and the important electronic components being coated) the hydrophobic properties are an added bonus.

Which coating is better? Well, within the electronics industry we want to keep water away from the important electrical components inside of devices. A coating that causes water to bead up and roll away will keep electronics alive and well long after contact with water – so, the hydrophobic coating wins this time.

These days there are a lot of other nano-coating products out there that claim hydrophobicity yet don’t measure up. Not HZO.

Reach out today to learn more about how our technology solutions are helping manufacturers improve their products.

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Ryan Moore

Ryan is a 9-year veteran to the world of protecting electronics from harsh environments and a lover of all things technology.

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