How Does Diffusion Work?

Save

Diffusion

  • Diffusion is the movement of molecules from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration through random motion. Given enough time, the concentration of molecules will eventually become even. Unlike some other chemical reactions, no catalyst is needed to start the process of diffusion, because of the internal energy of the individual molecules.

Molecules in Motion

  • Molecules are in constant motion, because of their internal energy. Internal energy is the random motion of atoms and molecules on a microscopic scale. A bathtub full of water may appear perfectly still, but all of the molecules within that water are moving at hundreds of feet per second. However, since the average internal energy of every type of molecule is different, diffusion happens at different rates of speed depending on the makeup of the substances.

Example

  • Imagine two different gases in a container, separated by a barrier. Carbon monoxide is on one side, and oxygen is on the other. Even though no movement is visible, molecules are constantly colliding with the barrier. When the barrier is removed, molecules from both gases will mix, moving from an area of high concentration to low concentration--carbon molecules will move to the side that was pure oxygen. Eventually, the entire container will be filled with one gas, in this case, carbon dioxide.

  • Photo Credit This image shows diffusion across a semipermeable membrane
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • What Is an Exhaust Diffuser?

    Exhaust diffusers are pieces of equipment installed into a vehicle's exhaust pipe. The diffusers dilute the exhaust gas that comes from the...

  • How to Calculate Diffusion Rate

    Diffusion rate is how fast one substance spontaneously mixes with another. If you open a bottle of perfume in a room, how...

  • How Does Light Scattering Work

    Light scattering is both a physical process and a research technique in physics based on the same principle. When light encounters particles...

  • Great Ideas for Biology Experiments

    The field of biology covers many aspects of science. Therefore, many different science experiments can be created in many fields. Biology encompasses...

  • Diffusion & Osmosis Lesson Activities

    Diffusion and osmosis are somewhat difficult-to-understand scientific concepts that are often best explained through lab activities. In diffusion, matter is dispersed in...

  • About Different Types of Diffusion

    Diffusion, in general, is the net movement of particles from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Learn about simple...

  • How Does Natural Selection Work?

    Natural selection is often referred to as the survival of the fittest, and it comes down to differential survival, the fact that...

  • How Do Weather Vanes Work?

    Weather vanes have arrows that point in the direction that wind is coming from, and this is achieved through differing surface areas...

  • Diffusion Lab Experiments

    Diffusion is a physical phenomenon that occurs everywhere, and we barely notice it or understand how it works. However, a few simple...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!