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Difference Between Diffusion And Osmosis

The question of stating the difference between diffusion and osmosis is a very common one. Thus, to understand this, we need to look closer at these two processes individually. In other words, we can say the major difference is that in osmosis the solvents move whereas, in diffusion, the molecules move. Hence, both of them are indeed examples of passive transportation. Further, it is a natural process that occurs inside the body and promotes the movement of molecules without the need for energy. Also, this motion can be from higher to lower concentration or vice versa. Thus, we will take a look at their definitions to understand their differences.

Definition of Diffusion

Diffusion refers to the movement of molecules like solid, liquid and gases from an area of higher concentration to that of a lower concentration. Moreover, this movement takes place because of the high concentration of molecules that move randomly consist of free energy. Thus, when they move to areas of lower concentration, it achieves equilibrium of diffusing molecules and free energy. Further, there is no role semi-permeable membrane over here. Also, diffusion is essential to create energy, exchange gases during respiration in animals. Moreover, it is also useful during transpiration and photosynthesis in plants.

Definition of Osmosis

Osmosis refers to the movement of solvent particles through a semi-permeable membrane. In addition, it takes place from a dilute solution into a concentrated one. Further, it helps in maintaining the equilibrium on both sides of the membrane. Thus, you will notice there is the only movement of the water molecule which we also refer to as the solvent. In addition, the water molecules move from higher concentration to lower concentration. Most importantly, these molecules pass through a semi-permeable membrane. Thus, it makes osmosis a special type of diffusion. Further, it is essential for distributing nutrients and releasing metabolic waste from the body.

Difference between Diffusion And Osmosis

difference between diffusion and osmosis

Important Difference between Diffusion And Osmosis

Basis of Comparison Diffusion Osmosis
Meaning It refers to the movement of molecules from a region of higher concentration to the lower one. It is the movement of a solvent (mostly water) from the region of higher concentration to lower concentration
Medium It takes place In any medium of solid, liquid or gas It takes place only in a liquid medium
Speed It is a fast process It is a slow process
Semi-permeable membrane Does not require it Requires a semi-permeable membrane
Diffusing Molecule Movement may be in solid, liquid or gas It is basically of solvent (water)
Function Exchange of gases during respiration in animals and transpiration and photosynthesis in plants Maintains the water at the cellular level in animals, maintains the turgidity in plants and offers mechanical support
Solute Potential Does not depend on the solute potential Depends on solute potential
Occurrence Happens between similar and dissimilar types of solutions Happens between similar types of solutions
Flow of Particle Happens in all directions Happens only in one direction
Example The scent of perfume filling a whole room Plant root hairs taking up water

More details about Diffusion

The factors which affect diffusion are molecular weight, concentration gradient, pressure and temperature. Moreover, there are around twelve types of diffusion. Thus, some of them are surface diffusion, collective diffusion, electron diffusion, photon diffusion and more.

For instance, if one drops a red ink in a jar containing water, you will notice the ink distributing evenly all over the water. Thus, the particles distribute everywhere and it is an example of diffusion.

More details about Osmosis

The factors that affect osmosis are diffusion distance, concentration gradient and the temperature. Further, there are two types of osmosis, one is reverse osmosis. In addition, the other one is forward osmosis.

Similarly, in plants, we see that osmosis helps in absorbing water from the soil. Moreover, it also maintains the water level even during loss of water. Further, it offers mechanical support as well.

FAQs about Diffusion And Osmosis

Question 1: What is the difference between diffusion and osmosis in terms of speed?

Answer 1: Diffusion is a fast process whereas osmosis is a slower one.

Question 2: What are some applications of diffusion?

Answer 2: Through diffusion, a few nutrients get absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, it also helps in the exchange of gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide. Finally, it also makes possible the passage of waste products in the renal tubules.




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