Learn more physics!
Is there a liquid that dissolves niether in water and oil?
- Syeda Khadija Fatima Zaidi (age 13)
Luther Jackson Middle School, Fairfax,VA
Sure! Mercury is a liquid at room temperature and has a very low
solubility in both water and oil -- the cohesive forces between mercury
atoms are much stronger than those between water molecules and mercury
atoms, and the same goes for the oil.
Be careful though -- mercury is poisonous.
There are some liquids which won't dissolve in either for a reason
rather unrelated to miscibility. For example, liquid nitrogen is only a
liquid at very low temperatures (below 77 Kelvin). Water and oil are
frozen solid at those temperatures, and so dissolving is not an option
(well, you can get a few molecules of nitrogen stuck inside the crystal
lattice of water, so maybe that counts). The same goes for substances
which are liquids only at very high temperatures , where neither the
water nor the oil are liquid.
(republished on 07/24/06)
Follow-up on this answer.