Dr. Liz Kujawinski (left) and a research associate at WHOI monitor a specialized mass spectrometer that measures the individual weights of compounds in a complex mixture to help identify those present. (Photo by Tom Kleindist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Polar Oil: When Oil and Water Mix

Oil and water don’t mix, right? For the most part, that’s true. Oil is made up of many compounds, the majority of which are not water soluble or “non-polar” in scientific terms. When oil enters water, such as from a spill, most of it gathers together in balls or sheets.

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