Dynamic equilibrium, in simple words, means equilibrium of bodies that are in motion. In this article we will read about the topic “is dynamic equilibrium a diffusion?”
The pre-requisite for understanding this article is to know about the concept of dynamic equilibrium. Although we will discuss about it in brief to make sure we don’t miss out any detail. We shall start this article by discussing about dynamic equilibrium first and then diffusion.
What is dynamic equilibrium?
Dynamic equilibrium in simple words is a equilibrium of bodies in motion. In chemistry, it relates to reactants and products being used up and being formed at the same rate.
Dynamic equilibrium, in Physics, refers to a closed system where all the forces are continuously acting and are in opposite nature such that the sum of all forces is constant or zero always. The system appears to be stagnant or still but in actual the contents are continuously changing.
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What is diffusion?
Diffusion is related to movement of particles from one location to other. It has a particular condition only then the particles will be able to move. Let us see about this condition in the section given below.
The condition should be that the particles will move only from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration, if the movement has to take place from low concentration to high concentration then external influence is necessary.
What happens when the concentration of both systems are equal?
Diffusion takes place on its own until there is a difference in concentration of quantities. As soon as the concentration of both systems are equal, equilibrium is achieved.
The movement of particles will not stop, instead the particles will start moving from one system to another at equal rates. This state is called as dynamic equilibrium. In simple words, the rates at which forward reaction and backward reaction are taking place are equal.
How is diffusion related to dynamic equilibrium?
We can say that diffusion results into dynamic equilibrium. Equilibrium is achieved once the concentrations at both the ends become equal. Let us see what happens to both the systems that are interacting with each other.
The particles still as well be moving from one side to other but at equal rates. That is the amount of particles moving out of one location will be equal to the amount of particles moving in the same location.
Is dynamic equilibrium a diffusion?
Now we are well aware of the meanings of diffusion and equilibrium. It is an easy guess from here onward for the question “is dynamic equilibrium a diffusion?”
In dynamic equilibrium we see that the particles are transferred at equal rates from both the systems such that the net quantities remain same. This is a diffusion process in which the quantities move from one location to another at equal rates.
Types of diffusion
There are two types of diffusion commonly known. We shall discuss about these two types in the section given below.
The two most common types of diffusion are-
- Simple diffusion– It is a process in which the particles move through the semi permeable membranes without any significant help from transport proteins hence it is termed as simple diffusion.
- Facilitated diffusion– As the name suggests, facilitated diffusion is the movement of particles across the boundary of the system or the cell membrane with the help of a carrier molecule which acts as the host. Unlike simple diffusion, here the particles need help of other molecules for transport.
Examples of diffusion
Diffusion is very important in day to day activities. We see diffusion in daily lives and also it takes place inside our bodies as well. Lets see examples of diffusion-
- A tea bag immersed in hot water– The color of water will change after some time because of diffusion.
- Air freshener– When we spray air freshener in the room, the particles of air freshener will diffuse in the room which is why we can sense the odour.
- Dissolution of sugar- When sugar dissolves in water/milk or any liquid, the liquid becomes sweet. This is a result of diffusion of sugar in the liquid.
- Osmosis- Plants take minerals from roots by the process of Osmosis. If plants don’t take minerals from roots then there would have been no life possible on Earth.
- Incense stick– The scent of incense stick comes after the diffusion of the smoke with the air molecules of the room. This way the pleasant smell of incense stick reaches to us.
- Adding water to noodles– The noodles become soft after addition of water because water content inside the noodles increases as diffusion takes place.
- Dialysis- Diffusion of solutes through a semi permeable membrane. Dialysis is a very important breakthrough in medical history.
Factors affecting diffusion
There are various factors affecting diffusion. By changing these factors one by one or simultaneously, we can change the rate of diffusion taking place.
The factors affecting diffusion are given below-
- Temperature– Increase in temperature leads to increase in movement of particles (higher kinetic energy). Thus, the rate of diffusion will increase with increase in temperature.
- Area of interaction– Higher the area of interaction, higher will be the rate of diffusion.
- Size of the particle– If the size of particles are small enough so that they can pass through the membrane easily, the rate of diffusion will be more.
- The steepness of the concentration gradient– The concentration gradient is directly proportional to the rate of diffusion. Hence, if the concentration gradient is more then the rate at which diffusion is taking place will also be faster.
Significance of diffusion
From the examples of diffusion given in above sections, we can make out that diffusion is very important. Without diffusion (osmosis), life would not have been possible on Earth.
The most important significance of diffusion is that it helps the substances to move in and out of cells. Which means that through diffusion we can cut out waste from our bodies. Even plants take use of diffusion to collect nutrients and minerals from the roots.