Osmosis is the diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane, from a solution of low solute concentration (high water potential) to a solution with high solute concentration (low water potential), up a solute concentration gradient. The simplest definition is that it is diffusion of water across a semipermeable membrane. It is a physical process in which a solvent moves, without input of energy, across a semi-permeable membrane (permeable to the solvent, but not the solute) separating two solutions of different concentrations. Net movement of solvent is from the less-concentrated (hypotonic) to the more-concentrated (hypertonic) solution, which tends to reduce the difference in concentrations. This effect can be countered by increasing the pressure of the hypertonic solution, with respect to the hypotonic. The osmotic pressure is defined to be the pressure required to maintain an equilibrium, with no net movement of solvent. Osmotic pressure is a colligative property, meaning that the property depends on the molar concentration of the solute but not on its identity.

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