The special type of diffusion in which an imbibant absorbs water on its surface without dissolving in it is called imbibition. lmbibant is a hydrophilic surfaces like protein. starch or clay. The force generated by the imbibants is called imbibition pressure or metric potential. The metric potential is similar to solute potential. The direction of water movement is from a region of higher water potential to one of lower water potential. Hydrogen bonding is responsible for binding (adsorption) of water molecules to the hydrophilic surfaces.

Significance of’ imbibition

The insoluble, solid, hydrophilic protoplasmic and cell wall constituents absorb water by imbibition.

  1.  Dry plant material like dry wood is placed in water. It swells and its volume increases.
  2. Dry pea seeds are placed in water. These also swell. It helps in the germination of seed.
  3. If the imbibant is dried and then put in water, it can develop a high

pressure (imbibition pressure). This pressure imbibes water. For example, imbibition occurs in the wooden door or window frame during humid weather or rainy season. It becomes difficult to close door after imbibition.



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