The Difference in the Rate of Diffusion of NaCl and Glucose Molecules

Cailey Shaw, Taryn Valentine, Wesley Tinnin, Michael Cobbs


Synthetic cell biologists have observed that certain molecules within the cells in the body diffuse more quickly than others. They have attempted to replicate this phenomenon in order to discover practical applications for the study of synthetic cell production. We were asked to contribute to this study by answering the question “Why is diffusion through a membrane sometimes faster (French, 2014)?” We hypothesized that smaller molecules diffuse faster than larger molecules because their comparatively smaller mass allows them to move more quickly than larger molecules. To test this, we conducted an experiment using dialysis tubing to simulate a cell membrane and glucose and sodium chloride solutions to observe the variation in diffusion rates of different sized molecules.

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