Atoms and molecules are constantly in motion. This kinetic energy causes the molecules to bump into each other and move in different directions. This motion is the fuel for diffusion. Diffusion is the random movement of molecules from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. This will occur until the two areas reach a dynamic equilibrium. When this dynamic equilibrium is reached the concentration of molecules will be approximately equal and there will be no net movement of molecules after this point. The molecules will still be in motion but the concentrations will remain the same. Osmosis is a special kind of diffusion in which water moves through a selectively permeable membrane. A selectively permeable membrane allows diffusion for only certain solutes (the substance being dissolved) and water, the most common solvent (a dissolving substance). The most common selectively permeable membrane is the cell membrane. Water moves from an area of high water potential to an area of low water potential. Water potential is the measure of free energy of water in a solution and is represented by the symbol ψ (psi). Water potential is affected by two physical factors: the addition of a solute (ψs) and pressure potential (ψp). The addition of solutes to a concentration will lower the water potential of that solute, causing water to move into the area. Water movement is directly proportional to the pressure potential. Water potential can be determined by the equation: ψ = ψp + ψs
Pure water has a water potential of zero. The addition of solutes will cause the water potential value to be negative, while an increase in pressure potential will cause a more positive water potential value. There are three relationships that can occur between two solutions. When two solutions have equal solute concentrations, they are isotonic and no net movement of solute occurs. There is also no net movement of water. If the two solutions differ in solute concentrations, they will either be hypertonic or hypotonic. The hypertonic solution has a lower concentration of solute. Water will move out of a hypertonic solution, while solute will move in, (moving up the concentration gradient-similar to water potential). This depends on the selective qualities of the membrane. Pertaining to cells, this will cause the cell to shrivel or become flaccid. The hypotonic solution has a higher concentration of solute, and therefore has less water. This solution will gain water, while losing solute. This movement between the hypotonic and hypertonic solutions will continue until the point of dynamic equilibrium is reached. A hypertonic cell may also undergo plasmolysis. Plasmolysis is the shrinking of the cytoplasm in a plant cell in response to the diffusion of water out of the cell. When a cell is hypotonic it may lyse. In plant cells, it creates turgor pressure against the cell walls keeping the plant from becoming wilted. Besides osmosis and diffusion, molecules and ions can be moved by active transport. This process includes the use of ATP to drive molecules in or out of a cell. Active transport is generally used to move molecules against a concentration gradient, from an area of low concentration to an area of higher concentration of molecules. Hypothesis:
In this experiment, diffusion and osmosis will occur until dynamic equilibrium is reached. This experiment is done in a theoretical condition with no other variables affecting the movement of the solute except water potential. Materials:
This exercise requires a 30 cm of 2.5 cm dialysis tubing, 250 ml beaker, distilled water, 2 dialysis tubing clamps, 15 ml of 15% glucose/1% starch solution, 4 pieces of glucose tape, 4 ml of Lugol’s solution (Iodine Potassium-Iodide or IKI), and clock or timer. Exercise 1B
This experiment requires six strips of 30 cm dialysis tubing, 250 ml beaker, 12 dialysis tubing clamps, distilled water six...