What is the Difference between Osmosis and Diffusion?

The world is made up of minute particles that we cannot take notice with our bare eyes. Everything takes its place according to transfer of molecules from one region to another and this movement is appreciated when we learn more about diffusion and osmosis. These processes entail deeper readings for us to understand them better, including what is the difference between osmosis and diffusion. It may be hard to understand at first but as we move on, we will be able to grasp simpler learning.

Osmosis is a process that involves transfer of water alone. The transfer of water molecules comes from a region of higher concentration to a region with lower concentration. The water molecules pass through semi-permeable membrane and this is comparable with the exchange of water molecules within the cell membranes of our cells. Osmosis is a vital process to make transfer of water particles as this involves solvent transfer only, until homeostasis or balance is achieved. One good example to cite with osmosis is dialysis of blood.

Diffusion, on the other hand, refers to the process which involves transfer of solute particles from a region with higher concentration to a region with lower concentration. This exchange takes place in liquids and gases and the transfer of particles happens without a membrane.

As we have cited earlier, diffusion and osmosis both involve processes that transfer molecules from higher concentration to lower concentration regions and both do not need energy to make the necessary movement possible as they both involve passive transfer. However, both processes still have differences.

First, they differ in the substance involved with the transfer. Diffusion transfers solute molecules in the solution while osmosis involves the transfer of water molecules only. Secondly, while diffusion process happens without any membrane and molecules travel in any direction, it is different with osmosis. Osmosis only involves transfer of molecules across semi-permeable membrane and the molecules travel in one direction only.

Other distinction lies with the kinds of molecules being traveled with each process. Diffusion involves transfer of both liquids and gases while osmosis only involves transfer of liquids. They also differ with the speed of travel. Diffusion travels a longer distance compared to osmosis. The molecules in osmosis disperse in shorter distances and travels slowly.

Although both processes may have differences, still both transfers involve important functions in our daily lives. From bodily processes to mere things on earth, everything happens because of diffusion and osmosis. That is why we should learn to appreciate minute things in life as our life is built starting from smaller particles.

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