Osmotic Pressure

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Cell Biology

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Osmotic Pressure


In biological systems, cells must maintain a certain concentration of solution within them, where a solution is defined as one substance dissolved in another (a solute dissolved in a solvent). A semipermeable membrane separates the inside of the cell from the outside, allowing in only molecules that are small enough to pass through the tiny pores of the membrane. Osmosis is the net movement of solvent (water) towards the solution with the higher solution concentration.

πV = nRT

High concentration of solute

Water enters semipermeable membrane

Solution is diluted, cell stabilizes

In Crenation, a blood cell has a lower concentration of solute inside than outside the cell. Water flees the cell through the semipermeable membrane to balance out the concentrations. Too much water exits through the membrane, and the cell shrivels.In Hemolysis, a blood cell has a higher concentration of solute inside than outside the cell. Water enters the cell rapidly through the semipermeable membrane to lower the concentration inside the cell, causing the cell to expand and rupture.

π = Osmotic PressureV = Volume (of Solution)n = Moles of SoluteR = Ideal-Gas ConstantT = Temperature (in Kelvin)M = Molarity (Concentration)

Osmotic Pressure (π) determines whether or not osmosis will occur, often described by πV = nRT. If the solutions on either side of a semipermeable membrane (comparing inside and outside the cell) have the same value for Osmotic Pressure, no osmosis will occur. Otherwise, the solvent (usually water) will travel from one solution to the other to balance the concentrations. In terms of concentration, the Osmotic Pressure may be written as such:π = (nRT)/V = (n/V)RT = MRT(M) stands for Molarity, a measure of concentration equal to the number of moles of the solute divided by the liters of solution.

Reference - Chemistry: The Central Science, 10th Edition, AP Edition By Theodore L. Brown, H. Eugene LeMay Jr., Bruce E. Bursten, and Catherine J. Murphy, Et. All

Osmotic Pressure

By Tucker McCord


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