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Osmosis Essay

2418 words - 10 pages



In this investigation, I plan to see which factors would affect the
rate of osmosis in potato cells. Osmosis is the concentration gradient
moving from a high concentration to a low concentration through a
partially permeable membrane. I will weigh the potato chips before and
after, if the weight increases, it shows that the potato chip has a
lower concentration than the liquid it is in. Therefore, osmosis has
taken place.


Vocabulary (Taken From the Internet- Check Bibliography)

Osmosis- the diffusion of fluids through a semi-permeable membrane or
porous partition.

Concentration Gradient- The change in solute concentration per unit
distance in solute. Concentration gradients cause Fickian diffusion
(spreading) of solutes from regions of highest to regions of lowest
concentrations. In slow-moving groundwater, this is the dominant
mixing process.

Partially Permeable Membrane- A semi permeable membrane (or more
accurately a selectively permeable membrane) is a membrane which will
allow certain molecules or ions to pass through it by diffusion
(sometimes "facilitated diffusion"). The rate of passage depends on
the pressure, concentration and temperature of the molecules (or
"solutes") on either side, as well as the permeability of the membrane
to each solute.

Factors that affect osmosis:

Temperature- if the temperature is high, the particles will gain
kinetic energy. This would increase the rate of osmosis. Because the
particles have kinetic energy, they move around. This could result in
them bumping into the membrane. If this does happen, the chance of
molecules getting through the membrane increases, therefore; the rate
of osmosis does too.

Water Potential- water tends to move from one place to another, as it
is a liquid. This is water potential. It could be affected by two
factors, one being if a solute is added, and the water potential

Concentration- this is the factor that I am investigating in this
experiment. If there was no concentration difference, the molecules
would not have anywhere to move to. This is because during osmosis,
molecules move to a lower concentration.


I predict that when the potato chip is in water, the mass will
increase because the water molecules will enter the chip. When it is
in a high concentration of sugar, I think that it will decrease as the
molecules will move from the chip to the solution. I think this
because water has more molecules than the potato; and the molecules
will move to a lower concentration. But with the sugar solutions;
there are less water molecules than inside the chip. This means that
the molecules will move outside of the chip and into the solution. The
water and sugar solutions will loose/gain molecules of water until the

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