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Differences Between Isotonic Solution And Equilibrium

Differences Between Isotonic Solution And Equilibrium

Both isotonic and equilibrium share the same definition; they both carry the meaning “balance” or “equality” – but ultimately, they still have differences. An isotonic solution is a mixture of two or more substances; substances which carry the same salt concentration as the ones that surround the blood cells – while equilibrium is the state of the solution per se.

In chemistry, an isotonic solution exists when an equal solute concentration is present inside and outside a cell. Compared to the things around it, an isotonic solution has an equal amount of dissolved solute in it – which in simple terms, it means that it is a solution that is of equal tension. On the other hand, equilibrium in chemistry refers to the state wherein a solution is said to be saturated. Such saturation process only happens when the rates of dissolution and precipitation are equal to one another – equilibrium is basically reaching the state of equal concentration.

Isotonic Solution

In an isotonic solution, molecules flow inward and outward at an equal rate by osmosis, which causes the cell size to remain the same – they neither lose nor gain any solutes. An example of an isotonic solution is when you mix sodium chloride (salt) and distilled water – this will result in what is called a “saline” solution. Usually, it is available is several concentrations, and it is commonly used for medical purposes and is found in intravenous, or IV, drips, contact lens solutions, and nasal irrigation sprays. Oftentimes, it is used for chemistry experiments because they are designed to match the makeup of a person’s intracellular fluid in that they are equal in osmotic pressures inside and outside a person’s cells. It prevents any fluid shifting which is very helpful in medical purposes.

Equilibrium

When equilibrium occurs, a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction take place at equal rates – it is when all the acting influences are cancelled by others which result to a stable, balanced, and unchanged system. The rates of the inward and outward reactions are generally not zero, but equal.  Basically, in an equilibrium, nothing changes and nothing moves. Such state is referred to as a dynamic equilibrium. An example of a dynamic equilibrium is when a person burns paper (cellulose). The reaction continues until either one of the reactants is used up; only then will it stop. Reversible reactions are basically simple one-step reactions in both directions.

The only difference between an isotonic solution and an equilibrium is that an isotonic solution means that all the contents in the solution are balanced equally but there are movements while in an equilibrium, all the contents in the solution are also balanced equally but no movements are made mainly because all the acting influences are cancelled by others – which is why in an equilibrium, there is stability.  

Summary:

  1. An isotonic solution is a mixture of two or more substances; substances which carry the same salt concentration as the ones that surround the blood cells – while equilibrium is the state of the solution per se.

  2. In an isotonic solution, molecules flow inward and outward at an equal rate by osmosis, which causes the cell size to remain the same – they neither lose nor gain any solutes.

  3. When an equilibrium occurs, a chemical reaction and its reverse reaction take place at equal rates – it is when all the acting influences are cancelled by others which result to a stable, balanced, and unchanged system.

  4. The only difference between an isotonic solution and an equilibrium is that an isotonic solution means that all the contents in the solution are balanced equally but there are movements while in an equilibrium, all the contents in the solution are also balanced equally but no movements are made.


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