Diffusion Essay

1749 words - 7 pages

Lab Report #1: Diffusion


The human body undergoes a variety of processes throughout each and every day in order to sustain life. Tasks such as walking, breathing, and digesting what has been eaten are sometimes considered mundane, even taken for granted. One such process that is necessary to maintain life is diffusion. Diffusion is a key factor in moving ions, fuels, and other molecules into and out of the blood. It is one of the most important components in supplying oxygen to the alveoli and removing carbon dioxide. Without diffusion, substances would find it very difficult to pass through membranes and could cause detrimental effects to the human body.
The paradox scientists have drawn is related to glucose molecules and the directions in which the molecules “know” to move. No single molecule should diffuse in any particular fashion, but should diffuse randomly. This report looks at four simulations attempting to solve the problem presented, how do the molecules know which way to diffuse?
In order to understand the obtained research, it is necessary to present and identify the key components of Fick’s Law of Diffusion:
F = -D * A*dC/dx
F = the flow of material across a real or imaginary plane
D = the diffusivity of the diffusing molecules
(the ease in which the molecule diffuses in the surrounding medium)
                         A= area of the plane
                         C= concentration of the molecules
                         X= distance
                         dC/dx = the concentration gradient

There will be four simulations conducted in order to apply Fick’s Law and determine if molecules do in fact know which way to diffuse. The first simulation will look at a single molecule in an open area, the second looks at the movement of several molecules, the third looks at molecules diffusing in a box, and the fourth looks at molecules diffusing through a pipe between two boxes. Understanding the movements of the molecules in each of these simulations will allow the problem to be solved.


     In order to properly experience each of the simulations it is necessary to have access to Microsoft Excel and MatLab, a program designed allowing scientists to view data in a visual format.
The first simulation, as mentioned, dealt with a single molecule randomly moving in an open area. It is assumed that the molecule will move from a higher...

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