Water and water don’t mix

Mar 21, 2006

Water can actually repel water, according to researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash. Greg Kimmel, staff scientist at the lab, and his coworkers found that the first single layer of water — ice grown on a platinum wafer — wetted the wafer surface but that subsequent layers did not wet the first layer. “In other words, the first layer of water is hydrophobic,” he explains. Not only does the second layer bead up, but also 50 or more ice-crystal layers can be piled on top of the first before all the non-wetting portions are covered.

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