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Diffusion and Osmosis

PRE-LAB QUESTIONS
1. Compare and contrast diffusion and osmosis.

2. Draw a picture of a cell in isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic states.

3. Why don’t red blood cells swell or shrink in blood?

4. How do osmotic power plants work?

5. Research the structures that protect plant and animal cells from damage resulting from
osmotic pressure. Write a few paragraphs explaining what they are, how they work, and
where they are located.

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Diffusion and Osmosis

EXPERIMENT 1: DIFFUSION THROUGH A LIQUID

Data Tables

Table 1: Rate of Diffusion in Corn Syrup

Time (sec) Blue Dye Red Dye

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

110

120

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Diffusion and Osmosis

Table 2: Speed of Diffusion of Different Molecular Weight Dyes

Total Distance Speed of Diffusion


Structure Molecular Weight
Traveled (mm) (mm/hr)*

Blue Dye

Red Dye

*To get the hourly diffusion rate, multiply the total distance diffused by 30.

Post-Lab Questions

1. Create a graph of your data from Table 1. Using a graphing program, such as Microsoft
Excel®. If you do not have access to Microsoft Excel, use a free graphing program
available online.

2. Examine the plot below. How well does it match the data you recorded in Table 1?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

3. Which dye diffused faster?

4. Does the rate of diffusion correspond with the molecular weight of the dye?

5. Does the rate of diffusion change over time? Why or why not?

6. Do you think your results would change if the corn syrup was replaced with water? Why
or why not?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

EXPERIMENT 2: DIFFUSION – CONCENTRATION GRADIENTS


AND MEMBRANE PERMEABILITY

Data Tables

Table 3: Indicator Reagent Data

Glucose
Starch Positive Starch Negative Glucose Positive
Indicator Negative
Control (Color) Control (Color) Control (Color)
Control (Color)

Glucose Test
n/a n/a
Strip

IKI n/a n/a

Table 4: Diffusion of Starch and Glucose Over Time

Indicator Dialysis Bag After 1 Hour Beaker Water After 1 Hour

Glucose Test Strip

IKI

Post-Lab Questions

1. Why is it necessary to have positive and negative controls in this experiment?

2. Draw a diagram of the experimental setup. Use arrows to depict the movement of each
substance in the dialysis bag and the beaker.

3. Which substance(s) crossed the dialysis membrane? Support your response with data-
based evidence.

4. Which molecules remained inside of the dialysis bag?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

5. Did all of the molecules diffuse out of the bag into the beaker? Why or why not?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

EXPERIMENT 3: OSMOSIS – DIRECTION AND


CONCENTRATION GRADIENTS
Hypothesis:

Scientific Reasoning:

Data Tables

Table 6: Sucrose Concentration vs. Tubing Permeability

Band Initial Volume Final Volume Net Displacement


Sucrose %
Color (mL) (mL) (mL)

Yellow

Red

Blue

Green

Post-Lab Questions

1. For each dialysis bag, identify whether the solution inside was hypotonic, hypertonic, or
isotonic in comparison to the beaker it was placed in.

2. Which dialysis bag increased the most in volume? Why?

3. What does this tell you about the relative tonicity between the contents of the tubing and
the solution in the beaker?

4. What would happen if the tubing with the yellow rubber band was placed in a beaker of
distilled water?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

5. Suppose you had a 90% sucrose solution in one of the beakers instead of a 3% sucrose
solution. How might this change your results?

6. Describe the similarities and differences between the dialysis bag and a cell membrane.
Be specific.

7. If you want water to flow out of a dialysis bag filled with a 50% sucrose solution, what
would the minimum concentration of the beaker solution need to be?

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Diffusion and Osmosis

EXPERIMENT 4: OSMOSIS – TONICITY AND THE PLANT


CELL

Data Tables

Table 7: Water Displacement per Potato Sample

Initial Final Net


Potato Type and
Potato Sample Displacement Displacement Displacement
Observations
(mL) (mL) (mL)

1 1A

1 1B

2 2A

2 2B

Post-Lab Questions

1. How did the physical characteristics of the potatoes vary before and after the
experiment? Did it vary by potato type?

2. What does the net displacement change in the potato sample indicate?

3. Different types of potatoes have varying natural sugar concentrations. Explain how this
may influence the water potential of the potato cells.

4. Based on the data from this experiment, hypothesize which potato has the highest
natural sugar concentration. Explain your reasoning.

5. Did water flow in or out of the plant (potato) cells? How do you know this?

6. Would this experiment work with other plant cells? What about animal cells? Why or why
not?
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Diffusion and Osmosis

7. From what you know of tonicity, what can you say about the plant cells and the solutions
in the test tubes?

8. What do your results indicate about the concentration of the cytoplasm in the potato cells
at the start of the experiment?

9. If the potato is allowed to dehydrate by sitting in open air, would the cells absorb more or
less water? Explain.

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