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The Effect of Temperature on the Rate of Diffusion

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 652
  • Category: Chemistry

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Molecules undergo constant motion and move in regions with a higher concentration to a lower concentration and this process is called diffusion. It is where particles make numerous collisions with one another and so with the partition. This movement of the particles causes them to be equally and uniformly distributed throughout, (De et. al, 2010). It can occur in any state of matter. The concentration gradient greatly affects diffusion because of the adjustment of regions of concentrations until it reach the equilibrium thus, it is simply the physical flow of any material. Diffusion can be applied to our daily lives in different ways. A simple example is our way of breathing. Oxygen is carried in our lungs and diffused into our bloodstream. Another is when you bake cupcakes and the smell of it filled the house by diffusion. The particles inside the microwave which is the higher concentration will spread out into the house because it has lower concentration. According to Markings, rates of diffusion are affected by several factors and these are medium of diffusion, concentration gradient and temperature.

In medium of diffusion, the greater number of molecules or larger particles in the medium, the lower the rate of diffusion because these particles act as a barrier to diffusion. High concentration gradient leads to greater rate of diffusion considering the greater probability of molecular collisions. One of the main factors that affect the rate of diffusion is the temperature. The higher the temperature, the faster is the rate of diffusion because as temperature increases, the kinetic energy of particles also increases. When the kinetic energy of particles increased, this will lead to increased velocity because there will be a high probability of collision of particles, (Markings, 2014). In accordance, according to De that as temperature increases the kinetic energy of particles so thus its speed and thus increase the rate of diffusion. Thus the hypothesis of the study, “If temperature affects the rate of diffusion, then the higher the temperature, the faster is the rate of diffusion and the lower the temperature, the slower is the rate of diffusion”, was formulated. This study aims to determine the effect of temperature on the rate of diffusion using three set-ups with three different temperatures in accordance to time. Specifically, the study aims to:

1. to recall diffusion and identify possible factors that may affect diffusion of substances; and 2. to explain the effect of temperature on the rate of diffusion. The study will be conducted at the Laboratory found in the Institute of Biological Science Building, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna.


5 250 ml beaker
Alcohol lamp
Stirring rod
Iron ring stand
Food coloring (blue & yellow)
Tap water

To test the effect of temperature on the rate of diffusion, diffusion of food coloring through water will be observed. Three 250 ml beakers of the same size will be obtained and filled with equal amounts of water. The first container will be heated within 10 minutes in an alcohol lamp. The second container will be filled with cold water by placing some ice within 10 minutes. The third container will be filled with water at room temperature. The temperature will be recorded and measured using a thermometer. Two dyes will be prepared separately using two beakers, one is blue and one is yellow. Both drops of blue and yellow dye will be dropped simultaneously in each container. Time required for the dyes to become green will be measured using a stopwatch. The values acquired will be recorded and analyzed.

De, A. et.al. (2010). Study of diffusion of solids in liquids. Retrieved
November 16, 2014from http://chemistryprojectstudyofdiffusionofsolidsinliquids.htm/ Markings, S. (2014). Factors that would increase the rate of diffusion. RetrievedNovember 14, 2014 from http://classroom.synonym.com/list-factors-wouldincrease-rate-diffusion-12460.html Norman, S. (n.d.). Factors affecting the rate of diffusion across cell membrane. RetrievedNovember 17, 2014fromhttp://staff.norman.k12.ok.us/~amcamis/1st%209%20weeks%20assignments/Difusion%20-%20Temp%20Lab%20Alt%20Assignm.pdf Silberberg, M. (2013). Principles of general chemistry. 3rd edition. McGraw-HillCompanies, Inc., New York

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