What is Osmosis?
Osmosis is the process of transference of a fluid with low solute concentration to an area with high solute concentration through a semi-permeable membrane. Osmosis aims to equalize the concentrations of solute on both sides of the semi-permeable membrane. Once this state is reached, the end fluids are then described as ‘isotonic’.
A semi permeable membrane is a membrane that allows certain molecules to pass through it, including fluids that facilitate osmosis. Examples of semi permeable membranes are usually cells and in humans, osmosis is a vital process to sustain life.
The fluid that goes through the semi permeable membrane is called the solvent, while the substance that is dissolved in the fluid is called solute. When these two are combined, you get a solution. When you term a solution hypertonic, it means that there is a higher solute level outside the cell, which can lead to cell dehydration. When you say hypotonic, it means that there is a higher solute level in the cell than outside, which makes it gain and retain water. Water intoxication is an example of a hypotonic osmosis.
Osmosis occurs in both animal and plant life. Plants are able to take up water and nutrients from the soil and its surroundings through osmosis. Similarly, humans and other animals are also able to take in nutrients and from food and water through osmosis.