What is Diffusion and Osmosis?
What is diffusion and osmosis? In biology, both terms pertains to a type of passive transport. Passive transport means that the molecules moving in and out of the cell do not require energy to be in motion. To be more detailed, diffusion is a process by which molecules of a particular matter move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. On the other hand, osmosis is the diffusion that takes place across a permeable membrane.
Diffusion and molecular diffusion are terms that can be used interchangeably. Every matter is composed of molecules. Regardless of the state of matter, all molecules found in it continuously move at some degree. The movement is at random and at no particular pattern. Scientists stressed that the random motion is the reason why diffusion takes place.
Most people think that to be able to witness diffusion one must look at a sample matter under a powerful microscope. However, with a simple test anyone can observe diffusion with his or her naked eye. A simple test can be done by using a glass of water and a drop of dye. Put a single drop of dye in a glass of water and observe how the dye disperses. The random molecular motion of the dye is what makes it disperse in water.
Soon, the water will take the color of the dye and will have a uniform color. This occurrence is called the equilibrium. Equilibrium is the state where molecules diffused until they reached a uniform concentration. This occurrence takes an important part in several disciplines of science such as biology, physics and chemistry.
Osmosis is actually a diffusion that takes place across a semi permeable membrane. For a clearer explanation, osmosis is the movement of water across a semi permeable membrane from an area of low solute concentration to an area of high solute concentration. Similar to diffusion, osmosis is a passive process. The result of osmosis is a separated two solutions of different concentrations.
Water is the most suitable fluid to demonstrate osmosis. Osmosis is a vital process for every living organism in the planet and that includes humans and plants. To understand better on how the process of osmosis works, there are some important terms to remember: solvent, solute, solution, hypotonic, and hypertonic.
Solvent is the fluid that passes through the semi permeable membrane. Solvent is an agent used to dissolve a substance in the fluid. The substance dissolved by the solvent is called the solute. The result of the combination of solvent and dissolved solute is called the solution. The terms hypotonic and hypertonic are opposites. Hypotonic is the term referring to a solution that has a low level of solute. Hypertonic is the opposite and that means a solution has a high level of solute.
The principles of osmosis have great impact to the understanding of different concepts. Osmosis helps people in the medical field understand some medical conditions that are considered fatal. One of the best examples is the water intoxication. This condition occurs when a person drinks too much water at a rapid phase. Dehydration is also one fatal medical condition that is understood through the principles of osmosis.