Osmosis takes place in all cells, and understanding why and how it happens is very important. Osmosis is the process of water diffusing across the semipermeable cell membrane (Pham, 2013). It is a process that has a very important role in maintaining life.
Osmosis regulates the internal cell environment (Pham, 2013). Because osmosis is such an integral part in maintaining cellular life, scientists questioned if different environments would cause osmosis to occur differently. I hypothesized that the weight of the potatoes will shrink with increasing levels of sodium chloride.
Also, I hypothesized that increased concentrations lead to higher levels of osmosis rather than increased temperature. To test the first hypothesis, slices of potatoes were weighed then added to different concentrations of sodium chloride in water. After 90 minutes, the slices were weighed again. To test the second hypothesis, two different experiments were conducted. One tested different temperatures and their effect on osmosis, and the other tested different concentrations of sucrose. The first experiment used water with temperatures of 15 degrees and 55 degrees. After every seven minutes the bags of sucrose were taken out of the water and weighed. In the other experiment water of 15 degrees was used and one bag had 10 percent sucrose and the other had 40 percent.
Again, after every seven minutes the bags were weighed. The potato experiment supported my hypothesis. Barring the .5% sodium chloride mixture, as the concentration increased, so did the levels of osmosis.
In experiment two, my hypothesis was supported partially. With increased levels of concentration, osmosis increased as well, however, temperature also had a significant impact on osmosis. Studying osmosis is very important because it can be used for many different areas of life.
Desalinating seawater will be an integral part in bringing water to parts of the world with low water. Reverse osmosis is the leading form of seawater desalination (Shaffer, Yip, Gilron, Elimelech, 2012). In further studies, different concentrations and different temperatures could be tested.