Difference Between Osmolality and Osmolarity
Osmolality vs Osmolarity
Osmolality and osmolarity are units of measurement. Osmolality is the number of osmoles of solute in a kilogram of solvent, while osmolarity is the number of osmoles of solute in a litre of solution. An osmole is one mole of any non-dissociable substance. It will contain 6.02 x 1023 particles.
Osmolarity is the concentration of an osmotic solution. This is usually measured in osmoles. Osmolarity is also used to determine certain medical conditions, like the dissolved particles in urine. The volume of a solution will change with the addition of solutes, and also with any change in the temperature or pressure. Therefore, osmolarity is sometimes difficult to determine.
Osmolality deals with the concentration of the particles that is dissolved in a fluid. In medical science, osmolality is used to determine several conditions like diabetes, dehydration and shock. For the detection of these conditions, the osmolality of the serum is checked, and is known as plasma osmolality. The concentration of the substances like chloride, sodium, potassium, glucose and urea are calculated.
The volume of a solvent remains the same regardless of any changes in pressure or temperature, so it is relatively easier to determine the osmolality. Owing to this fact, osmolality is the common method of measurement in Osmometry.
Osmolality measures the number of particles in the unit weight of a solvent, and is independent of the shape, size or weight of the particles. The properties based on which the particle concentration is measured are known as Colligative properties. The properties are vapour pressure depression, freezing point depression, boiling point elevation, and osmotic pressure.
Usually osmolarity is expressed as Osm/L, and osmolality as Osm/Kg. To measure osmolality an instrument known as an osmometer is used, and it works by using the method of freezing point depression.
The difference between the calculated osmolarity and measured osmolality is known as the osmolar gap. The values are presented in different units, and this is due to the difference in the method of the calculation and measuring. The abbreviation for measured osmolality is MO, and that for calculated osmolarity is CO. The osmolar gap is represented as OG. If the concentration of solutes in the given fluid is very low, then osmolality and osmolarity are considered to be equivalent.
1. If osmolality is the number of osmoles of solute in a kilogram of solvent, then osmolarity is the number of osmoles of solute in a litre of solution.
2. Osmolarity deals with the concentration of an osmotic solution, while osmolality deals with the concentration of particles in a fluid.
3. It is easier to determine the osmolality than the osmolarity.
4. Osmolarity is expressed as Osm/L, and osmolality is expressed as Osm/Kg.
5. Osmolality is used to determine medical conditions like diabetes, shock and dehydration, while osmolarity is used for the detection of the concentration of dissolved particles in urine.
6. Osmolality is the commonly used method of measurement in Osmometry.
7. When the concentration of solutes is very low, the osmolality and osmolarity are similar.
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