Oleophobic Surfaces

NISE Network product

Oleophobic Surfaces is a hands on cart demonstration for spontaneous, 3-10 minute interactions with visitors. The visitors will explore several surfaces that display oleophobic properties due to material science research at the nano scale.



Big Idea: 
Scientists research surface treatments for materials in order to illicit a specific behavior from the material's surface. Coatings can preserve, protect, lubricate, grip, and a myriad of other behaviors. For example, walls can be coated with material that when dry, will prevent the adhesion of paint or ink. In this demonstration, we're examining coatings that are oleophobic, "oil hating," and prevent low surface tension liquids from adhering to it.
Learning Goals: 
  • As a result of exploring this demonstration, visitors will learn that oleophobic means "oil hating."
  • As a result of exploring this demonstration, visitors will be able to appreciate that scientists have created oleophobic surfaces using nanomaterials.
  • As a result of exploring this demonstration, visitors will be able to identify several applications for oleophobic surfaces.
NISE Net Content Map: 
  • Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
  • Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.


Developed for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Creative Commons license image Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Development Process: 

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.