Dynamics of osmotic fluid flow

  • George Oster
  • Charles S. Peskin
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 64)


The classical thermodynamic treatment of osmotic pressure is quite sufficient to compute most quantities of interest without reference to any molecular model (see, for example, Finkelstein, 1987). However, one’s intuition is always aided by molecular models, and a microscopic picture can be quite useful when thinking about osmotic flow in unfamiliar situations. Therefore, we offer here a surprisingly simple and intuitive molecular model for describing solvent flow driven by osmotically generated pressure gradients. We will show that osmotic pressure arises from the external force on solute particles which is transmitted to the solute by viscous drag. This simple picture enables us to propose a simulation method that can be used to compute the osmotic flows associated with quite complex situations arising in polymer and gel swelling.


Osmotic Pressure Viscous Drag Random Force Semipermeable Membrane Fluid Equation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Oster
    • 1
  • Charles S. Peskin
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Molecular & Cellular Biology, and EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Courant Institute of Mathematical SciencesUSA

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