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This illustration shows a container whose contents are separated by a semipermeable membrane. Initially, there is a high concentration of solute on the right side of the membrane and a low concentration of the left. Over time, water diffuses across the membrane toward the side of the container that initially had a higher concentration of solute (lower concentration of water). As a result of osmosis, the water level is higher on this side of the membrane, and the solute concentration is the same on both sides.
In osmosis, water always moves from an area of higher water concentration to one of lower concentration. In the diagram shown, the solute cannot pass through the selectively permeable membrane, but the water can.

To illustrate this, imagine two full glasses of water. One has a single teaspoon of sugar in it, whereas the second one contains one-quarter cup of sugar. If the total volume of the solutions in both cups is the same, which cup contains more water? Because the large amount of sugar in the second cup takes up much more space than the teaspoon of sugar in the first cup, the first cup has more water in it.

Returning to the beaker example, recall that it has a mixture of solutes on either side of the membrane. A principle of diffusion is that the molecules move around and will spread evenly throughout the medium if they can. However, only the material capable of getting through the membrane will diffuse through it. In this example, the solute cannot diffuse through the membrane, but the water can. Water has a concentration gradient in this system. Thus, water will diffuse down its concentration gradient, crossing the membrane to the side where it is less concentrated. This diffusion of water through the membrane—osmosis—will continue until the concentration gradient of water goes to zero or until the hydrostatic pressure of the water balances the osmotic pressure. Osmosis proceeds constantly in living systems.


Tonicity describes how an extracellular solution can change the volume of a cell by affecting osmosis. A solution's tonicity often directly correlates with the osmolarity of the solution. Osmolarity describes the total solute concentration of the solution. A solution with low osmolarity has a greater number of water molecules relative to the number of solute particles; a solution with high osmolarity has fewer water molecules with respect to solute particles. In a situation in which solutions of two different osmolarities are separated by a membrane permeable to water, though not to the solute, water will move from the side of the membrane with lower osmolarity (and more water) to the side with higher osmolarity (and less water). This effect makes sense if you remember that the solute cannot move across the membrane, and thus the only component in the system that can move—the water—moves along its own concentration gradient. An important distinction that concerns living systems is that osmolarity measures the number of particles (which may be molecules) in a solution. Therefore, a solution that is cloudy with cells may have a lower osmolarity than a solution that is clear, if the second solution contains more dissolved molecules than there are cells.

Hypotonic solutions

Three terms—hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic—are used to relate the osmolarity of a cell to the osmolarity of the extracellular fluid that contains the cells. In a hypotonic    situation, the extracellular fluid has lower osmolarity than the fluid inside the cell, and water enters the cell. (In living systems, the point of reference is always the cytoplasm, so the prefix hypo - means that the extracellular fluid has a lower concentration of solutes, or a lower osmolarity, than the cell cytoplasm.) It also means that the extracellular fluid has a higher concentration of water in the solution than does the cell. In this situation, water will follow its concentration gradient and enter the cell.

Questions & Answers

Leo Robinson's definition
Adejimi Reply
how is equilibrium defined in financial markets?
Babakura Reply
the concept of it
Country A has export sales 20 billion, government purchases 1000billion, business investment is 50 billion, imports are 40billion, and consumption spending is 2000billin. What is the dollar value of GDP ?
Habtamu Reply
what is determination of national income?
Waqar Reply
economic growth
stock of capital
we're RBI keep money with them
Y =C+l
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explorer Reply
it is a situation in which the supply of an item is exactly equal to it dd .
inder wat condition shld a firm stop production in both short n lungrun ?
what is 2nd degree price discrimination?
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what is quantity2
Deji Reply
An indefinite amount of something.
what is demand
Kaman Reply
in ordinary sense demand means desire
demand in economics means both willingness as well as the ability to purchase a commodity by paying a price an also its actuall purchase
what is absolute advantage
demand refers to the various quantity of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a particular period of time all other things been equal
The amount of a good or service that consumers are willing to buy at a particular price.
what is cost pull inflation?
what is utility
what is cost pull inflation?
demand is economic principle referring to a consumer's desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific or service..
utility is the among of certisfaction driving from using a comundity
pull cost of inflation hight population unemployment to some of The country members poor government system
what is a buffer scheme
state the second law of demand and supply
Ahmadou Reply
state the law of diminishing marginal utility
dt know WATS the answer
mention and explain two Bank I financial institutions and two non baking financial institutions
Onah Reply
wat is demand pull inflation
Tony Reply
Demand-pull inflation is asserted to arise when aggregate demandin an economy outpaces aggregate supply. It involvesinflation rising as real gross domestic product rises and unemployment falls, as the economy moves along the Phillips curve.
Perfectly elastic demand
Abubakar Reply
this is a form of demand where goods are demanded at a constant price
what inelastic demanding
demand of any good demanded more after a certain period. if a commodity prices may high and scarcity of that resources.
cannot demand more
what is cross-elasticity of demand
Miles Reply
cross elasticity of demand is an economic concept that measures the responsiveness in the quantity demand of one good when a change in price takes place in other good
this is responsiveness quantity demanded keeping other factors constant
what economic growth
Rukundo Reply
conditions of perfect market
NdzAlama Reply
CONDITIONS OF PERFECT MARKET: 1. Perfect competition(PC): no increasing returns, many buyers and sellers, all are price takers, not prices makers. 2. Perfect Information (PI): buyers and sellers know all they need to know about what they are buying and selling to make the right decisions.
3. Complete Markets(CM): no externalities or public goods, no transactions costs, "thick" markets.
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A numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
A Perfect Market is a numerous downsized market that does not meet standards.
what is a market
is place where buyers and sellers met together for the purpose of buying and selling of good and services
Difference between extinct and extici spicies
Amanpreet Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
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what is nano technology
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what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Membranes (gpc). OpenStax CNX. May 15, 2014 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11654/1.1
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