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Difference Between Effusion and Diffusion

Effusion and diffusion are two commonly used terms in chemistry and these two terms are nothing but two different properties of gases.

However, while studying the terms, it can get quite confusing for many who are just starting to learn about gases. They might sound similar but diffusion and effusion are entirely different terms. They mean different things and they cannot be used interchangeably.

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What is Diffusion and Effusion?

Diffusion is defined as the ability of gases to mix with each other without requiring bulk motion. Effusion is also the ability of a gas to escape or travel through a small hole with a small aperture and from a place of high concentration to low concentration.

In essence, diffusion and effusion are processes that happen every day in our lives. Diffusion normally occurs inside the body where exchanges of nutrients, energy and oxygen happen within our body. That being said, It is quite important to know the differences between effusion and diffusion.

Difference Between Effusion and Diffusion

The main difference between effusion and diffusion is the barrier that either exists or is absent when a certain volume of gas moves from one place to another space. However, we will look at some main differences below.

Difference Between Effusion and Diffusion
Effusion Diffusion
Effusion is said to occur when gas molecules escape through a pinhole into a vacuum. During diffusion one gas mixes with another usually by thermal random motion resulting in the collision between each other while releasing molecular energy.
Effusion in simple terms is the ability of gas to travel through a small opening. Diffusion is the ability of gases to mix with each other usually in the absence of a barrier.
Effusion occurs when the size or aperture of the hole is smaller than the mean free path of the molecules. Diffusion happens when there are no holes or if holes in the barrier are larger than the mean free path.
Effusion occurs or is facilitated by a difference of pressures. Diffusion occurs due to difference in concentrations.

These are some differences between effusion and diffusion. To know more about and other chemistry topics you can keep visiting BYJU’S or download our app for interesting content and learning experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What causes effusion?

Pleural effusion related conditions include congestive heart failure, kidney disease, pulmonary embolism, trauma, or infection. Patients with pleural effusion can cause serious chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing. Pleural effusion signs appear to subside following treatment of the underlying disorder.

What’s the difference between effusion and diffusion?

Diffusion happens as gas bubbles are spread all over a tube. Effusion happens as a gas travels into an area narrower than that of the particles’ mean free path, that is, the average distance travelled between collisions. This implies that, essentially, only one particle moves through at a time.

Why diffusion is faster in gases?

Diffusion is driven by concentration differences. When chemical substances like perfume are let loose in a room, their particles mix together with air particles. Gas diffusion is rapid, as the particles in a gas move rapidly. It happens even faster in hot gases because the particles of gas move faster.

What is Graham’s law of effusion and diffusion?

The law of Graham notes that a gas’s rate of diffusion or effusion is inversely proportional to its molecular weight’s square root. Hence, the diffusion speeds of multiple gases are inversely proportional to the square roots of their mass densities.

What are examples of simple diffusion?

In the cell, water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, ethanol, and urea are examples of molecules that can use quick diffusion to migrate in and out of the cell membrane. They transfer the concentration gradient directly through the cell membrane, without energy.

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