Movement of Substances

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  • Created by: Lauran
  • Created on: 21-10-13 19:18

Diffusion: this is the net movement of fluid molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration. i.e down a concentration gradient. The steeper the gradient, as in the bigger the difference in concentration, the faster diffusion will occur. Examples include if you spray perfume in a corner of the room, it will slowly spread out until you can smell it from the opposite side of the room. This is because the particles move randomly and continuously collide with each other until they spread out evenly. In our body, diffusion occurs when oxygen from the alveolus in the lungs diffuses into the red blood cells which have a lower concentration of oxygen, since it transports it to body cells and 'gives it away'.

Osmosis: this is like diffusion, except it involves water molecules. So again, water molecules move via osmosis from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration, through a partially permeable membrane. In our body cells, the cell surface membrane is partially permeable, its function is to control what is allowed to enter the cell. Sometimes you read a definition on osmosis regarding water potential. And this confuses a lot of people. People think that it's from a region of low water potential to high water potential, since a region without much water should have water going to it right? Wrong.  Water potential is a measure of the tendency of water to move from one place to another. So a place without much water would have a low water potential, it's not going anywhere. So the definition is still the same, just switch 'concentration' for 'water potential'. So osmosis is the movement of water…


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