Copyright

Concentration Gradient: Definition & Example

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nadine James

Nadine has taught nursing for 12 years and has a PhD in Nursing research

Concentration gradient refers to the process of particles' movement in a solution or gas. Explore the comprehensive definition of a concentration gradient and examples of diffusion types. Updated: 08/31/2021

Concentration Gradient Defined

The formal definition of a concentration gradient is the process of particles, which are sometimes called solutes, moving through a solution or gas from an area with a higher number of particles to an area with a lower number of particles. The areas are typically separated by a membrane. This membrane can be permeable, semi-permeable, or non-permeable. Permeable is defined as a membrane that can be crossed by particles, ions, or water. Semi-permeable means that some particles, ions, or water can cross the membrane. Finally, non-permeable membrane means that no particles, ions, or water can cross the membrane.

An example that might help you understand the different types of membranes would be different types of fences. A wooden log fence would allow many things to pass through - this would be an example of a permeable membrane. A chain link fence would allow some small items to pass through it - this would be like a semi-permeable membrane. A solid plastic fence would not allow items to pass through it at all - this would represent a non-permeable membrane.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Conjugate Base: Definition & Overview

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Concentration Gradient Defined
  • 1:18 Concentration Gradient…
  • 1:59 Passive Diffusion
  • 2:40 Facilitative Diffusion
  • 4:17 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Concentration Gradient Process and Diffusion Types

Solutes moving through solution (liquid or gas) happen by random motion until there are equal numbers of particles in the two areas. Random motion is defined as movement that occurs by chance because there is no order or regular system by which the movements of the particles shift in the solution or gas.

The actual movement is called diffusion. There are three types of diffusion: passive diffusion, facilitative diffusion, and active transport. Because active transport does not happen along the concentration gradient, it will not be covered in this lesson. Instead, let's first discuss passive diffusion.

Passive Diffusion

Passive diffusion does not require energy; it happens by random motion. In a solution or gas that has an area of high numbers of particles and an area of low numbers of particles, the particles will diffuse or move from the area of higher to the area of lower concentration. A common example of this is a cup of water that you drop food coloring into. The food coloring is concentrated when dropped into the cup of water; however, after a few seconds pass, the particles become lighter in color as they move to the lower concentration level. Again, this happens without energy so it is known as passive diffusion.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Practice:
Concentration Gradient: Definition & Example Quiz

Instructions: Choose an answer and click 'Next'. You will receive your score and answers at the end.

1/5 completed

The carrier in a cell used for facilitated diffusion is usually a _____.

Create Your Account To Take This Quiz

As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 84,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.

Try it now
It only takes a few minutes to setup and you can cancel any time.
Already registered? Log in here for access

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account