Science

Difference Between Diffusion and Osmosis

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Main Difference

Diffusion and osmosis are the two types of passive transport process through which matter transports from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration. Both these process do not require any external energy for the transportation purpose. As osmosis and diffusion work on the very similar phenomena, they can be distinguished by the material they transport and their dependency. In other words, we can also say that osmosis is one of the types of diffusion. In the process of diffusion any substance whether in liquid, solid or gaseous state moves from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration. On the other hand, in the process of osmosis the water or any other solvent travels from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration through the semipermeable membrane.

Comparison Chart

DiffusionOsmosis
DefinitionIn the process of diffusion any substance whether in liquid, solid or gaseous state moves from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration.In the process of osmosis the water or any other solvent travels from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration through the semipermeable membrane.
Semipermeable MembraneDoesn’t takes place through semipermeable membraneTakes place through semipermeable membrane
States of MatterThe process of diffusion can take place in all the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas).The process of osmosis is only for liquids.
Solute PotentialThe solute potential doesn’t have any effect on the rate of diffusion.Solute potential influences the rate of osmosis.
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What is Diffusion?

It is the process of passive transport in which any type of material whether it is solid, liquid or gas moves from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration regardless of the semipermeable membrane. The process of diffusion is neither dependent on the presence of semipermeable membrane nor the solute potential in the mixture. As diffusion can occur in all the states of matter, it depends upon the presence of other particles, and it tends to equalize the area by filling the vacant spaces. For instance, when we open a bottle of perfume or any other fragrance, within some time the scent spreads all over the room, that is due to the process of diffusion. In the living organisms, diffusion also plays a pivotal role in the different life process. The process of diffusion takes place during the integral processes like photosynthesis and respiration.

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What is Osmosis?

It is the process of passive transport in which water or any other of the solvent within the mixture moves from the region of higher concentration to the region of lower concentration through the semi-permeable membrane. The process of solely for the liquids, although when we talk about osmosis in liquids, it is primarily about the water, although when we study the process of osmosis in chemistry perspective, the transportation can be of other solvents within the mixtures or solution. The process of osmosis takes place through the semipermeable membrane and is also dependent on the solute potential in the solution as the water moves towards the solution having high solute concentration and low solvent concentration. In living the process of osmosis takes place when the water molecules move from one cell to another. Generally, in animals, the process of osmosis takes part in the distribution of nutrients and release of the metabolic waste products. In plants, the outreach of water through the soil and the roots of the plant take place through the process of osmosis.

Diffusion vs. Osmosis

  • The process of osmosis takes place through the semipermeable membrane, on the other hand, the process of diffusion doesn’t require a semipermeable
  • Diffusion is the process for all three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas), whereas the process of osmosis only takes place in liquids.
  • Diffusion is not dependent on the solute potential on the mixture, whereas osmosis is dependent on the solute potential of the mixture.
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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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