# Is there anything that doesn't mix with water OR oil?

It's well known that water and oil don't mix, and if you put them together, the oil will float on top of the water in a distinct layer. My understanding is that this is because water is polar due to oxygens high electronegativity and oil is not. Most liquids and many solids are capable or mixing or dissolving into water, and I don't know of any other nonpolar liquids, but I imagine they would mix with oil.

In electromagnetism, there are magnetic materials that will be affected by magnetism, and nonmagnetic materials that aren't, but there is also diamagnetism which opposes influence of external magnetic fields.

So is there any kind of liquid substance that is neither polar nor nonpolar, and therefore doesn't mix with either water or oil? Could you have a beaker full of 3 liquids that has 3 distinct layers?

And if that was the case, are things that dissolve into one layer ONLY able to dissolve into that later, or is there the ability to diffuse between layers?

• Everything is soluble - it's just a matter of detection limits. – Todd Minehardt Aug 31 '16 at 2:50
• metallic mercury mixes with neither... I don't know what the absolute record is but more than 3 layers is certainly possible. – MaxW Aug 31 '16 at 3:52
• It seems that eight liquid phases is the maximum known. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – MaxW Aug 31 '16 at 6:56
• – Mithoron Aug 31 '16 at 9:53

In a little more detail, a mixture is favourable when its Gibbs energy of mixing is negative: $$\Delta G_{mix} = \Delta H_{mix}-T\Delta S_{mix}$$