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Diffusion and Osmosis

Diffusion and Osmosis

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Published by Anu CN

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Published by: Anu CN on Sep 07, 2011
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11/09/2012

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DIFFUSION AND OSMOSIS
 A BIOLOGICAL OUTLOOK
 ANUPAMA CNI M.Sc, BT MCC
 
 
DIFFUSION
 
Diffusion means free movement of substances in a random fashioncaused by the normal kinetic motion of substances. Motion of these particles iscalled heat, the greater the motion higher the temperature, and motion neverceases at any condition, except absolute zero temperature.When a moving molecule A approaches at a stationary molecule B,the electrostatic and internuclear forces of A repel B , adding some of the energyof motion to molecule B. Consequently molecule B gains kinetic energy of motionwhile molecule A slows down, losing some of its kinetic energy.This continual movement of molecules among each other in liquid or in gas iscalled
DIFFUSION
.
KINETICS OF DIFFUSION-The Concentration difference
 
When a large amount of dissolved substance is placed in asovent at one end of a chamber, it immediately begins to diffuse towards theopposite end of the chamber. If the same amount of substance is placed in theopposite end of the chamber it begins to diffuse towards the first end, the sameamount diffusing in each direction. As a result the net rate of diffusion from oneend to other is zero. If the concentration of the substance is greater at one end of the chamber than at the other end the net rate of diffusion from the area of higher concentration to the lower concentration is directly proportional to thelarger concentration minus the lower concentration. The total concentrationchange along the axis of chamber is called
concentration difference
and the
 
concentration difference divided by the distance is called
concentration ordiffusion gradient
.When the molecular size is greater, rapidity with which molecule diffusefrom one point to another is less. The rate of diffusion is approximately inverselyproportional to square root of molecular weight but is affected by shape of themolecule as well.Different factors which affect the rate of diffusion are:
 
The greater the concentration difference, greater is the rate of diffusion.
 
The less the square root of molecular weight, the grater is the rate of diffusion.
 
The shorter the distance, the greater the rate.
 
The greater the cross section of the chamber in which diffusion takes place,the greater is the rate of diffusion.
 
The greater the temperature, greater the molecular motion and greater thediffusion.
FICKE’S EQUATION
 
The time for equilibriation by diffusion is proportional to square of diffusion distance. This aspect has biological importance. It limits the size of individual cells since cellular metabolism depends upon the rapid diffusion of O2& substrates from membrane to metabolic sites. In human body no metabolicallyactive cell is more than 20 micro meters from a capillary. The rate of diffusion of molecules down a concentration gradient is given by the
FICKE’S EQUATION
.
 
dv/dt =J= - DA (dc/dx )
 
 
dv/dt= rate of diffusion in moles /sec
 
dc/dx is the concentration gradient down which diffusion is occurring inmol cm-3 cm-1.
-
sign indicates that diffusion is occurring in direction of decreasingconcentration, A is the area of plane of solution at right angles to movement. D isthe diffusion coefficient . Value of D depends on size of molecule & viscosity of solution.Eg: In lung tissue , at rest only a fraction of total lung surface is used for gasexchange and while at exercise total surface area of 75 m2 becomes available fordiffusion.
 

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