Understanding Osmosis: Influence Factors, and Knowing Reverse Osmosis (RO) Technology

Understanding Osmosis Is – When talking about osmosis, it will definitely relate to things in the field of biology, namely the process of moving molecules in water. Although the term osmosis sounds foreign, it turns out that the process of applying it is very close to human daily life, one example is when we are making tea bags in a hot water solution. Yep, in the process of dissolving the concentration of tea into the water it is also a manifestation of osmosis.

If Grameds would have remembered this subject of osmosis in class XI, he would have also been taught about his experiments which showed how a molecule of a substance moved from one solution to another. So what exactly is osmosis? Will this osmosis be related to the process of diffusion in dissolving water? How about the application of osmosis which in fact can affect the standard of cleanliness of the water around us? So, so that Grameds understands this, let’s look at the following review!


List of contents

Definition of Osmosis

In the field of biology, osmosis can be defined as an event of the permeation of a water molecule across a membrane that separates two solutions with different water potentials. Osmosis can also be defined as the process of moving solvent molecules, such as water, through a semipermeable membrane from a more dilute part to a more concentrated part. In osmosis, usually the part that has a low solvent concentration (hypotonic) moves to a high solvent concentration (hypertonic).

The process of osmosis will take place from a hypotonic solution to a hypertonic solution or the transfer of water from a solution molecule with a high water potential to a solution with a low potential, through a potential selective (semipermeable) membrane. It should be noted that this selectively permeable membrane is a separating membrane that can only be passed by water and certain molecules that can dissolve in it. These molecules can be amino acids, fatty acids, and water. Meanwhile, large size molecules, such as polysaccharides (starch) and proteins, cannot pass through this semipermeable membrane. If it remains “desperate” to pass through it, starch and protein molecules need a carrier or transporter in order to penetrate their membranes.


A solution that has a high concentration level will definitely have a high osmotic pressure, and vice versa. Basically, every living cell has an osmotic system.

This process of osmosis can also be thought of as the diffusion of water from an area of ​​lower water potential to an area of ​​higher water potential, through a semipermeable membrane. The osmotic potential of a solution will always be negative between the equivalent value of the actual osmotic pressure.

Osmosis is often confused with the process of diffusion, which even though they are two different processes but are both “moving” in a dissolved material. The difference refers to the process, if the diffusion is in the form of transfer of dissolved materials such as sugar, salt, and vinegar. While in the process of osmosis, what is transferred is the solvent in the form of water, alcohol, and others.

Examples of osmosis events that are often encountered in everyday life are:

  • Groundwater absorption
  • Potatoes put in brine.
  • Preservation of food using sugar, salt, or vinegar.

From the description above, it can be concluded that osmosis is a process of moving solvent molecules, such as water, through a semipermeable membrane from a more dilute part to a more concentrated part; Usually the part that has a low solvent concentration (hypotonic) moves to a high solvent concentration (hypertonic).

Factors Influence Of Osmosis Speed

1. Permeable Molecular Size

The molecules of the substance are smaller than the center line of the membrane hole, so it will be easier to seep.

2. Lipid Solubility

Molecules that have a high level of solubility can absorb faster than molecules that have a low level of solubility, such as lipids.

3. Membrane Surface Area

The absorption rate becomes faster if the membrane surface area provided for the infiltration process is larger.

4. Temperature

The movement of molecules is, of course, affected by temperature. Coarse infiltration will be faster at the highest temperature compared to the low temperature.

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Know What is Diffusion

The process of osmosis in a solvent certainly cannot be separated from the diffusion process. Diffusion is a process of random movement of molecules of a substance which can result in effective movement of molecules from high concentration to low concentration. The difference in concentration between the two solutions is called the concentration gradient. Examples of diffusion processes in everyday life are,

  • Adding sugar to the unsweetened tea will make the tea taste sweet too
  • Water vapor from the kettle when it boils diffuses in the air.

This diffusion will continue until all the particles can be spread widely and evenly. The most common diffusion is molecular diffusion, which occurs when a displacement of a layer of molecules is at rest.

Get to know Reverse Osmosis Technology

Reverse Osmosis (RO) can also be called Reverse Osmosis, which is an innovation of the osmosis phenomenon. This innovation from Reverse Osmosis relies on membranes made of various materials, namely cellulose acetate (CA), polyamide (PA), aromatic polyamide, polyetherimide, polyetheramine, polyetherurea, polyphenylene oxide, polyphenylene benzimidazole, and others. Meanwhile, the thin film composite membrane will be made of various polymeric materials as the substrate and then added with a functional polymer layer on the top.

This membrane will later undergo changes due to blockage. Well, the greater the pressure and temperature, the membrane becomes clogged. Normally, the membrane can work at a temperature of 21 – 35 degrees Celsius. Blockage of this membrane is usually caused by substances in the water, such as scale, colloid deposition, metal oxides, organics, and silica.

The use of the Reverse Osmosis system is usually applied in industry, namely for:

  • Desalination (removal of salt content) in brackish water and sea water so that it can be drunk by humans.
  • Concentration of fruit juice, vegetable juice, sugar, and milk.
  • Ultrapure water production, mainly in the electronics industry.

Not infrequently, the use of the Reverse Osmosis system is also applied to a large ship, especially to meet all fresh water needs. Surely Grameds knows that it is impossible for those who work on large cruise ships to use sea water for their daily needs? So, therefore the existence of this Reverse Osmosis system can be used for the needs of eating, drinking, bathing, washing clothes, to cooling the engine on the ship. In short, a Reverse Osmosis system can help to improve water quality.

History of the Development of Reverse Osmosis

The history of the existence of Reverse Osmosis (RO) was initiated by a French physicist named Jean Antoine Nollet in 1784. At that time, Nollet discovered an incident where water flows through a semipermeable membrane which is then referred to as Osmosis. The water flows from a state of water that is still dilute (solute water) to a state of concentrated water until the equilibrium is reached.

Then in the 1950s, scientists managed to modify Nollet’s invention with the Reverse Osmosis system. This was done on the premise that concentrated water if given a certain pressure could come into contact with the existing semipermeable membrane, so that later water could penetrate the membrane wall. The content of substances that cause the density of the water can be retained on the walls, so that the water produced can be cleaner because the “dirty substances” have been filtered, even small particles such as salt levels.

During this development, also carried out at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) which carried out the first investigation of desalination (removal of excess salt content) in seawater using a semipermeable membrane. The researchers finally succeeded in producing fresh water from sea water, but it has not been sold publicly. This research has been going on for years until finally this Reverse Osmosis membrane device can be sold to the general public. In fact, if interested, Grameds can also buy it at an online store, you know !

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