Skip to main content

To See or Not to See: Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Surfaces

Cornona treatment with Tesla coil (Source: lesson)
Physical Science
Education Level
Middle School
High School

This activity can be completed as a separate one or in conjunction with the lesson Superhydrophobicexpialidocious:  Learning about hydrophobic surfaces found at: The activity is a visual demonstration of the difference between hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Using a polystyrene surface (petri dish) and a modified Tesla coil, you can chemically alter the non-masked surface to become hydrophilic. Students will learn that we can chemically change the surface of a material on the nano level from a hydrophobic to hydrophilic surface. The activity helps students learn that how a material behaves on the macroscale is affected by its structure on the nanoscale. The activity is adapted from Kim et. al’s 2012 article in the Journal of Chemical Education (see references).

X Close