PMID: 13725178Nov 1, 1960Paper

Osmotic flow of water across permeable cellulose membranes

The Journal of General Physiology


Direct measurements have been made of the net volume flow through cellulose membranes, due to a difference in concentration of solute across the membrane. The aqueous solutions used included solutes ranging in size from deuterated water to bovine serum albumin. For the semipermeable membrane (impermeable to the solute) the volume flow produced by the osmotic gradient is equal to the flow produced by the hydrostatic pressure RT DeltaC, as given by the van't Hoff relationship. In the case in which the membrane is permeable to the solute, the net volume flow is reduced, as predicted by the theory of Staverman, based on the thermodynamics of the steady state. A means of establishing the amount of this reduction is given, depending on the size of the solute molecule and the effective pore radius of the membrane. With the help of these results, a hypothetical biological membrane moving water by osmotic and hydrostatic pressure gradients is discussed.


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