Written by Yuhang Jin, AP225 2011 Fall.
"Amphiphilic" is used to describe the properties of a certain group of chemicals. A chemical substance being amphiphilic possesses both hydrophilic and lipophilic functional groups. As a result, amphiphilic compounds show good affinity for both water and oil, and have relatively high solubility in polar solvents like water and some non-polar solvents.
Structure and examples of amphiphilic molecules
In amphiphilic molecules, the hydrophilic group is usually charged and highly polar. Examples include carboxylates -RCO2- and sulfonates -SO3- with negative charges and amines -NH3+ with positive charges.