g04bio

Archive for the ‘Diffusion’ Category

Similarities between Simple Diffusion and Facilitated Diffusion

  • Down the concentration gradient (From high concentration to low concentration)
  • No energy is required

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Diffusion

Diffusion refers to the process by which molecules intermingle as a result of their kinetic energy of random motion. Consider two containers of gas A and B separated by a partition. The molecules of both gases are in constant motion and make numerous collisions with the partition. If the partition is removed as in the lower illustration, the gases will mix because of the random velocities of their molecules. In time a uniform mixture of A and B molecules will be produced in the container.

The tendency toward diffusion is very strong even at room temperature because of the high molecular velocities associated with thethermal energy of the particles.

Osmosis

If two solutions of different concentration are separated by a semi-permeable membrane which is permeable to to the smaller solvent molecules but not to the larger solute molecules, then the solvent will tend to diffuse across the membrane from the less concentrated to the more concentrated solution. This process is called osmosis.

Osmosis is of great importance in biological processes where the solvent is water. The transport of water and other molecules across biologicalmembranes is essential to many processes in living organisms. The energy which drives the process is usually discussed in terms of osmotic pressure.


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