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Osmosis facts for kids

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0307 Osmosis
The process of osmosis over a semi-permeable membrane. The blue dots represent particles driving the osmotic gradient
Osmosis computer simulation
This is a shot from a three dimensional computer simulation of the process of osmosis. The blue mesh is impermeable to the larger balls, but the smaller balls can get through. All the balls are bouncing about

Osmosis is the movement of water through a semipermeable membrane from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration, tending to equalise the concentrations of the water. Osmosis is passive transport, meaning it does not require energy to be applied. What causes osmotic pressure is different concentrations of solutes on the two sides of the membrane.

When osmosis happens, water moves from the side of the membrane with a Higher amount of osmotic pressure to the side of the membrane with the lower amount. An important example of osmosis is the movement of liquid (solvent) molecules across a cell membrane into a cell with a higher solute concentration. Osmosis is a fundamental part of cell biochemistry, but also has mechanical applications and usages.

Hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic

Osmotic pressure on blood cells diagram
Effect of different solutions on blood cells
Turgor pressure on plant cells diagram
Plant cell under different environments

Solutions may have more or less solute per unit of solvent. The one with less is called Hypotonic. When the two solutions have equal concentration, they are isotonic. The one with more is Hypertonic. When the hypotonic solution is outside the cell,and hypertonic solution inside, the cell becomes swollen and distorted.

Cell membranes

The plasma membrane of a cell is semi-permeable, which means it allowed the entry of certain molecules in or out, it lets small molecules pass through, but blocks larger molecules,. The membrane also has ports or gateways which get certain macromolecules through. This is active transport, which uses energy and is selective. It is outermost covering of the animal cell. It is made up of proteins and lipids. Example:- Exchange of gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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