Osmotic pressure is the pressure created in an aqueous solution by a region of lower solute concentration upon a region of higher solute concentration forcing the passage of water from that to this more concentrated region. The intensity of the osmotic pressure (in units of pressure) is equal to the pressure that is necessary to apply in the solution to prevent its dilution by the entering of water by osmosis.
It is possible to apply in the solution another pressure in the contrary way to the osmotic pressure, like the hydrostatic pressure of the liquid or the atmospheric pressure. In plant cells, for example, the rigid cell wall makes opposite pressure against the tendency of water to enter when the cell is put under a hypotonic environment. Microscopically, the pressure contrary to the osmotic pressure does not forbid water to pass through a semipermeable membrane but it creates a compensatory flux of water in the opposite way.
Dec 23rd, 2014
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