Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic

Hydrophilic vs Hydrophobic

Solvents, mixtures, compounds, and particles are just some of the few components of a chemist’s life. Studies involving the observance of molecule behavior at any given state or environment may seem to be one of the most brain-whacking jobs for those with little background in chemistry and related sciences, but these are very helpful in coming up with the latest products and developments in various industries.

Chemists, biologists, and other individuals wanting a career in the field of science, of course, start their career by attaining necessary training from universities and colleges. When they decide to have a career related to biochemistry, their education starts with lessons that give them a deeper understanding of molecular activities and behavior.

This being said, it is safe to assume that the basic courses offered during their first year of college include the discussion of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic nature of molecules and other particles.

From etymology, the word “hydro-” means “water.” Thus, studying hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules concerns the solubility and other reaction of particles as they interact with water. The term “–phobic” originating from “phobia” would translate into the repulsion to water. Hydrophobic molecules and particles, therefore, can be defined as those who are insoluble to water. On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules are those that interact well with H2O.

In other words, the distinction between hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules is drawn by observance of the hydrophobic particles’ repulsion to water and hydrophilic molecules’ attraction to water.

In a laboratory experiment, for example, one can observe that there are particular solubles that dissolve in water and there are some that do not. Crushed and powdered makeup, for one, may be able to dissolve in a glass full of cooking oil but not in a glass full of water. Salt, on the other hand, is easily absorbed in water, but it may not dissolve in oil.

The crushed and powdered makeup, therefore, can be seen as hydrophobic particles. Meanwhile, the students can arrive at a conclusion that the molecules of salt are hydrophilic. Salt can keep a strong affinity in water in which it can be absorbed and dissolved. On the other hand, the oil-based makeup contains within itself molecules which repel and refuse to combine with those of water’s.

Aside from laboratory experiments, this molecular behavior in reference to the hydrophobic and hydrophilic nature is also observed when biologists look into the permeability of cell membranes. Note that several particles may enter and exit the cell through the membrane which is made of lipid bilayers and proteins.

When the particles are hydrophobic, there occurs a simple passive diffusion which would mean that the molecule does not need the exertion of energy to enter or exit the cell. This is because the cell membrane comes with hydrophobic components that match the molecules.

On the other hand, hydrophilic particles may need protein carriers for facilitated diffusion. This is because the components of the molecules reject those of the cell membrane’s.

To get a clearer understanding of this, picture a glass of water and a glass of cooking oil. When water is added to the oil, there comes repulsion between the molecules. But when one puts water into water and oil into oil, there will be no reaction observed.

Organic chemistry provides an explanation for this phenomenon. Note that water contains polar molecules. It therefore follows that polar substances and particles get absorbed or attracted with H2O. Hydrophilic molecules are known to be polar and ionic – meaning, they have positive and negative charges which can attract water molecules. Hydrophobic particles are known to be non-polar.


1.Hydrophilic means water loving; hydrophobic repels water.
2.Hydrophilic molecules get absorbed or dissolved in water while hydrophobic molecules only dissolve in oil-based substances.
3.Hydrophilic molecules need facilitated diffusion while hydrophobic molecules are suitable for passive diffusion in cellular activities.
4.Hydrophilic molecules are polar and ionic; hydrophobic molecules are non-polar.

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Custom Search

Help us improve. Rate this post! 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.

1 Comment

  1. not nice very bad

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about :
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder