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Difference Between Simple Diffusion and Facilitated Diffusion

Simple Diffusion vs Facilitated Diffusion

Diffusion is said to be the movement of a particle from a higher concentration to a lower concentration. There are many types of diffusion such as gaseous diffusion, rotational diffusion, surface diffusion, atomic diffusion, electronic diffusion, and a lot more.

Two other types of diffusion that will be compared are simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion. Let us examine the differences.

Facilitated diffusion is also called facilitated transport or passive mediated transport. It is a process in which the type of transport is passive that is enabled by proteins. Diffusion by this type is also spontaneous, unstructured, or unplanned passage of molecules or ions in a membrane through the aid of proteins. Certain molecules cannot pass through a membrane such as certain polar and non-polar molecules. Small, non-polar molecules can diffuse easily. An example of this is oxygen. Large molecules are diffused through the aid of proteins.

Simple diffusion, on the other hand, is the passage of a molecule or ion in a membrane without the help or aid of another intermediary such as proteins. What drives the molecules and ions from a certain point to the other side of the membrane is through diffusion’s force. However, there are certain criteria before a molecule or ion can penetrate through the cell membrane. The molecule or ion must be able to pass through the hydrophobic wall of the membrane. A few types of molecules can pass with ease which are hydrophobic. These are oxygen, ethanol, and carbon dioxide. In simple diffusion there is no energy involved in the penetration of these molecules.

Simple and facilitated diffusion are two types of diffusion. With this phenomena we can understand which molecules can penetrate and which cannot. Thus, we can observe that there are other methods through facilitated diffusion.


1.In simple diffusion, the force made by diffusion pushes the molecule across the membrane, but in facilitated diffusion it is aided by proteins.
2.In simple diffusion, small hydrophobic molecules can pass, but those which are not small and hydrophobic pass through facilitated diffusion.

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