One way to measure the rate of diffusion of ions is to monitor their concentration in solution over a period of time. Since ions are electrically charged, water solutions containing ions will conduct electricity. A Conductivity Probe is capable of monitoring ions in solution. This probe however, will not measure the amount of electrically neutral molecules dissolved in water. Salts, such as sodium chloride, produce ions when they dissolve in water. If you place a salt solution in a container such as dialysis tubing, the salt can travel through the very small holes in the tubing. When dialysis tubing containing a solution of salt ions is placed into a beaker of water, the ions can diffuse out of the tubing and into the surrounding water. In this way, you will be able to measure the diffusion of salts in a solution of water and determine how concentration gradients and the presence of other particles affect the diffusion of the salt across a membrane.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a Conductivity Probe to measure the ionic concentration of various
  • Study the effect of concentration gradients on the rate of diffusion.
  • Determine if the diffusion rate for a molecule is affected by the presence of a second molecule.