What is an example of osmosis?

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aimeefarnum's profile pic

aimeefarnum | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Osmosis is diffusion of water across a semi-permeable membrane.  Salt is too big to pass through a cell membrane, but water molecules can fit.  Since everything wants to reach equilibrium, the only thing that can flow to create equal concentrations is water.

Real world examples of osmosis:

1.  Why we use saline solution for contact lenses - if you ever placed your contacts in pure water you will notice how uncomfortable it is the next day, or if you fail to rinse out your contact case it will get too salty.  Saline solution for contact lenses is the same concentration of salt water as your eye.

2.  Saline drips at the hospital - same ratio of salt water as is in your cells.

3.  Making french fries - more salt makes the french fries more crispy and less soggy.  This is done by pre soaking the potatoes in salt water before frying.

4.  Reverse osmosis - add energy to the system to force the water to flow backwards through a membrane.  It is used as a method to filter or desalinate water (but requires alot of energy)

5.  The different salt ratios in cells explain why salt water fish cannot go in fresh water and vice versa.

User Comments

ssandhu05's profile pic

ssandhu05 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

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Osmosis is the process of water moving from an area of high concentration to low concentration. Examples of this process include adding a grape to water, our skin in water when we take a shower, plants absorbing water, etc. All of these examples contain a process in which the water is moving so that there is equilibrium on either side of the membrane (of whichever object is the focus in the example). Salting food is another great example of osmosis, for the water moves to achieve equilibrium.

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rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Osmosis is the process of water moving from am area of high concentration to low concentration. Two solutions of different concentration are separated by what is known as a semi-permeable membrane. Osmosis will occur until both solutions have an equal concentration. An easy example would be salt water. Salt will move through the membrane from an area with a lot of salt to an area with a little amount of salt. This will occur until there is an equal amount of salt throughout.

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jess1999 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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"Osmosis is the process by which molecules travel from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration" (biologycorner.com). There are three types of osmosis, isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic. Examples of osmosis would be

salting food to draw out its water preservation


plants absorbing water

keeping raisins in tap water

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taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Osmosis can occur when you mix drinks. For example, if you mix lemonade with with water. All the lemon & sugar from the lemonade (high concentration) will mix in with the water(low concentration).. making the drink taste lighter -- but evenly distributed. 

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chris-so-cool | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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osmosis  is the phenomenon in which the two solutions of two different concentrations are separated by the semi permeable membrane. the molecules of the solvent move from their higher concentration to their lower concentration till the concentration of both the solutions becomes equal.

e.g: take a thistle funnel and cover its mouth with a parchment paper. and fill it with concentrated sugar solution. 

place thistle funnel in a beaker containing water and mark the level of sugar solution in the stem of thistle funnel.

leave the apparatus undisturbed for 4-5 hours.

you will observe that the level of sugar solution in the stem rises and the level of water decreases as water passes through the parchment paper into the sugar solutin. it it because of osmosis

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dannyjesusv | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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A good example of osmosis would be dipping a sponge into water, because there is a higher concentration outside, so the water goes in and makes the sponge expand.

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revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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osmosis is a process which the movement of water molecules from a solution of higher water potential to a solution of lower water potential through a partially permeable membrane, and is present in animal or plant cells.

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interpreter | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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osmosis is the movement of solute from a higher concentration  to lower concentration through a semi permeable membrane.

eg. soak some dry grapes in water after 10 to 15 mins u can see them swell up. thisis due to the water.

thank you, i hope u find this usefull.

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rbrogdon | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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Osmosis is the movement of something through a membrane from an area of greater concentration to an area of lesser concentration.

An example would be to place two tablespoons of raisins into one cup of water and let sit overnight. The next morning, observe the changes to the raisins. Take them out, keeping as much of the water in the cup as possible. Re-measure the water to see how much the raisins absorbed through osmosis.

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fami | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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Osmosis is the movement of water molecules from a region of higher water potential i.e. a hypotonic solution to a region of lower water potential i.e a hypertonic solution, against the potential gradient, through a partially permeable membrane.

e.g:- The cellular system of animals/plants, which allows the water molecules and other dissolves substances to pass readily across the partially permeable cell surface membrane in or out from the cytoplasm of the cell. This accounts for

01. turgidity and plasmolysis in plants

02. crenation in animals


P.s:- don't confuse osmosis with diffusion for diffusion is the movement of fluid particles from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration (not water potential) against the concentration gradient (not thepotential gradient). Unlike osmosis it is not an obligation to have a membrane. e.g:- evaporation

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rhales | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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Ways I have showed my students examples of osmosis:

Soak a gummy bear in water.

Soak a raw egg in vinegar to remove the shell. Then you can soak it in water and have the students measure the diameter of the egg. You can also soak it in other solvents and see how the diameter of the egg will change.

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i-am-urmi | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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Osmosis is the movement of liquid molecules from a higher concentration to a lower concentration through a partially permeable membrane.

An example of osmosis can be the intake of water molecules in plants. As the cell sap of the root hair cell has a more concentrated solution than the soil, water particles moves in the cell through osmosis.

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go4knowledge2 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

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What is osmossis, it is the process of movement of solvvent from low concentration of soloute to high concentration of solute.

When you put rasins in water, after some time they swells. That is due to osmossis.

Thanks for asking.

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karan123- | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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a good eg.:-if u submerge some grapes in plain water(isotonic soln.),after some time the grapes swell up and may even burst

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