Consider the system at the point it has reached equilibrium. The condition for this is that the chemical potential
(since only it is free to flow toward equilibrium) on
sides of the membrane is equal. The compartment containing thepure solvent has a chemical potential of . On the other side, the compartment containing the solute has an additionalcontribution from the solute (factored as the mole fraction of the solvent, < 1) but there also appears an addition in pressure.
The balance is therefore:where denotes the external pressure, the solvent, the mole fraction of the solvent and the osmotic pressure exertedby the solutes. The addition of solute decreases the chemical potential (an entropic effect), while the pressure increases the
chemical potential, and thus a balance is reached. Note that the presence of the solute decreases the potential due to beingsmaller than 1.
Derivation of osmotic pressure
In order to find , the osmotic pressure, we consider equilibrium between a solution containing solute and pure water.We can write the left hand side as:where is the activity coefficient of the solvent. The product is also known as the acitivity of the solvent, which for water is
the water activity . The addition to the pressure is expressed through the expression for the energy of expansion:where is the molar volume (m³/mol). Inserting the expression presented above into the chemical potential equation for theentire system and rearranging will arrive at: