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osmosis

Introduction

osmosis (ŏzmōˈsĭs) [key], transfer of a liquid solvent through a semipermeable membrane that does not allow dissolved solids (solutes) to pass. Osmosis refers only to transfer of solvent; transfer of solute is called dialysis. In either case the direction of transfer is from the area of higher concentration of the material transferred to the area of lower concentration. This spontaneous migration of a material from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration is called diffusion.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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