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Natural, organic dust particles floating in slow motion.
Molecular diffusion, often simply called diffusion, is the thermal motion of all (liquid or gas) particles at temperatures above absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size (mass) of the particles. Diffusion explains the net flux of molecules from a region of higher concentration to one of lower concentration. Once the concentrations are equal the molecules continue to move, but since there is no concentration gradient the process of molecular diffusion has ceased and is instead governed by the process of self-diffusion, originating from the random motion of the molecules. The result of diffusion is a gradual mixing of material such that the distribution of molecules is uniform. Since the molecules are still in motion, but an equilibrium has been established, the end result of molecular diffusion is called a "dynamic equilibrium". In a phase with uniform temperature, absent external net forces acting on the particles, the diffusion process will eventually result in complete mixing.
Consider two systems; S1 and S2 at the same temperature and capable of exchanging particles. If there is a change in the potential energy of a system; for example μ1>μ2 (μ is Chemical potential) an energy flow will occur from S1 to S2, because nature always prefers low energy and maximum entropy.
Molecular diffusion is typically described mathematically using Fick's laws of diffusion.
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