What is Osmosis?

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  • Osmosis is a natural process where water flows through a semipermeable membrane from a solution with a low concentration of dissolved solids to a solution with a high concentration of dissolved solids. 


  • Picture a cell divided into 2 compartments by a semipermeable membrane, as shown in Figure 2.1. This membrane allows water and some ions to pass through it, but is impermeable to most dissolved solids. One compartment in the cell has a solution with a high concentration of dissolved solids while the other compartment has a solution with a low concentration of dissolved solids. Osmosis is the natural process where water will flow from the compartment with the low concentration of dissolved solids to the compartment with the high concentration of dissolved solids. Water will continue to flow through the membrane until the concentration is equalized on both sides of the membrane.