Hydrophobicity is a property inherent to some materials, and that can be imparted to others. It relates to how water interacts with a surface of a material, and whether this water is repelled or attracted. Oil is hydrophobic, resulting in the rainbow-like sheen that can be seen when they come into contact with one another. Tissue paper, however, is Hydrophilic? (the opposite to hydrophobic) and therefore absorbs water readily.
Hydrophobicity is driven by the fundamental physical properties of Surface Energy and Surface Tension?. Water behaves differently to almost all other materials, resulting in the great energy differences between a hydrophobic and a Hydrophilic? surface.
Hydrophobicity can be determined using various laboratory techniques and there is an ever-increasing number of methods used to impart hydrophobicity to a surface. In particular, great interest focuses on the creation of superhydrophobic surfaces, and these have uses in textiles as diverse as waterproof materials and self-cleaning surfaces.