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Why don’t oil and water mix? - John Pollard

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Salt dissolves in water; oil does not. But why? You can think of that glass of water as a big, bumpin' dance party where the water molecules are always switching dance partners -- and they'd much rather dance with a salt ion. John Pollard explains how two chemistry principles, energetics and entropy, rule the dance floor.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator John Pollard
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Sound Designer Devin Polaski
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Here is a video John Pollard produced which discusses these concepts in more detail.
Here is a link to John's YouTube channel where he discusses many other important and relevant topics in chemistry. It is designed for introductory University level general chemistry.
If you want to really challenge yourself, here is an article by Professor David Chandler, a theoretical expert on topics like the hydrophobic effect. This is a great summary of how we currently model why oil and water do not mix.
Here is an amazing demonstration of the hydrophobic effect in an extreme case. Can you use entropy to explain what is happening?
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
How can this effect, often referred to as the “hydrophobic effect”, be essential to understanding how life could have emerged from simple molecules?
10/09/2013 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator John Pollard
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Sound Designer Devin Polaski
  • Narrator Addison Anderson