Diffusion RACE!

Dialysis tube submerged in ionized water

On Tuesday, October 6, my Sports Medicine Class held a Diffusion Race! First, Mrs. Kahn, our teacher, refreshed our memories on diffusion, which according to the Biology Corner, is the process when molecules move from an area of high concentration to an area of lower concentration to eventually reach equilibrium. The liquid process of diffusion is called osmosis. After learning the backgrounds of osmosis and diffusion, the class was tasked with a race: The first to diffuse glucose would be victorious!

The class split up into three groups, with about 4 people in each group. Each group received a dialysis tube, some ionized water and sugar (glucose). The task was to find the best ratio of water: sugar to place in the dialysis tube that will show signs of glucose diffusing into water   the fastest. My group planned to put less water than sugar into the dialysis tube, thus supporting the concept of a higher concentrated liquid diffusing to a lower concentrated liquid.

5 minutes into the race!

To prepare, my group tied one end of the dialysis tube with string and poured our solution of water and sugar into the tube. Then, tied the other side off with another piece of string to prevent the glucose solution from leaking into the beaker of water. After, we submerged the tube into the beaker and waited to be victorious. Every five minutes, Mrs. Kahn gave us one glucose test strip to identify any presence of glucose.

Stirring complications!

From the start, my group encountered some mishaps. The first being that the sugar seemed to crystallize when it contacted water. As a result, the clumped up pieces of sugar did not mix with the water. Thus, when the dialysis tube submerged into the water, diffusion may not have been possible as the water was not concentrated with sugar.  Also, when pouring our sugar and water solution into the dialysis tube, pieces of sugar were stuck at the opening of the dialysis tube, thus being exposed to the ionized water. The second mishap we encountered was before submerging the dialysis tube into the ionized water. Our water seemed to have already contained a little bit of glucose as the glucose test strip turned to an olive green color. After noticing, Mrs. Kahn gave my group new water which solved the problem.

Results from left to right.

The overall result of this lab is questionable as my group’s glucose test strips seemed to get lighter as time went on.


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