Feeling Polar-ized? The Crucial Difference Between Polar and Non-Polar
There's a lot of polarity on the planet. And it doesn't always stem from people's magnetic personalities. It also has nothing to do with the North and South Poles. Or polar fleece (which can keep you warm if you're traveling to a Pole.) It doesn't even have much to do with polar bears. Except for the fact that a polar bear's fur is non-polar.Huh? We're not pulling your leg, even if it's covered in polar fleece. When it comes to spill containment, "polar" identifies a liquid that is water based, or water-soluble (hydrophilic). By the same token, the term "non-polar" means a liquid is oil based, or oil soluble (hydrophobic). Anyone who works with hazardous or potentially hazardous liquids is keenly aware of these differences:
- Polar substances are made up of molecules that have a positive charge on one end and a negative charge on the other. Like a magnet.
- Non-polar substances are made up of molecules that don't have positive or negative charges. They're impartial.