What Factors Affect Osmosis?

Osmosis is the process by which a liquid moves through a semi permeable membrane. Several factors affect osmosis including temperature, surface area, difference in water potential, pressure and concentration gradient.

Osmosis occurs when there is a high solute concentration area on one side of a membrane and a low solute concentration area on the other. The higher the temperature, the faster that osmosis occurs. This is due to the amount of energy present in the water, as energy is expended to permeate the membrane.

Surface area affects the rate of osmosis directly. The larger the surface area, the easier is it for molecules to cross the membrane. Conversely, the smaller the surface area, the more difficult it is for molecules to cross the barrier. The disparity of water concentration, or difference in water potential, is a large factor in the speed of osmosis. The greater the disparity, the faster osmosis will occur.

Pressure directly affects the rate of osmosis. The higher the pressure on one side of the membrane, the more rapidly osmosis takes place to the other. The same is true for concentration gradient, the lower the concentration of solute in water, the faster it moves through a membrane.