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Water moves from a high concentration of water (less salt or sugar dissolved in it) to a low concentration of water (more salt or sugar dissolved in it). This means that water would cross a selectively permeable membrane from a dilute solution (less dissolved in it) to a concentrated solution (more dissolved in it).
http://www.usd.edu/~bgoodman/Osmos.htm What happens when the concentration of water differs on both sides of a membrane?
See an animation of osmosis here: http://lewis.eeb.uconn.edu/lewishome/applets/Osmosis/osmosis.html
In this picture a red blood cell is put in a glass of distilled water (all water with no salt or sugar in it). Because there is a higher concentration of water outside the cell, water enters the cell by OSMOSIS . In this case too much water enters and the cell swells to the point of bursting open. In the end pieces of cell membrane are left in the water.
Normal Distilled water Salt water Isotonic cells Hypotonic cells Hypertonic cells
All living things have certain requirements they must satisfy in order to remain alive. These include exchanging gases (usually CO2 and O2), taking in water, minerals, and food, and eliminating wastes. These tasks ultimately occur at the cellular level, and require that molecules move through the membrane that surrounds the cell.
This membrane is a complex structure that is responsible for separating the contents of the cell from its surroundings, for controlling the movement of materials into and out of the cell, and for interacting with the environment surrounding the cell.