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Computational Biology

Model, simulate, and visualize biological and biochemical systems. Model and simulate reaction kinetics.

Plasma Membrane

The plasma membrane not only acts as a cell barrier, but also controls what comes into and out of a cell. In this virtual lab, you will explore the concept of osmosis and how molar concentrations of solutes affect the movement of water across a semipermeable membrane.


The models contain two compartments. Compartment 1 represents the solution in the beaker, while compartment 2 represents the contents of the RBC. A semipermeable membrane separates these two compartments and only allows water to pass between them.

Plasma membrane model with a semipermeable membrane that separates two compartments, solution in beaker and content of red blood cells.


When there is a difference in the concentration of solutes on either side of the membrane, pressure builds up at the membrane surface. Water then moves across the membrane from the compartment with the low solute concentration to the compartment with the high solute concentration.


Use the Wolfram Language to carry out custom analysis.

"Effects of Cell and Solution Concentrations on Osmosis" by Aileen Jong and Lizzie Neal.

Explore the High School Biology Labs to learn more