# 14.5 Colligative Properties and Osmosis

## Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:
• Express concentrations of solution components using mole fraction and molality
• Describe the effect of solute concentration on various solution properties (vapour pressure, boiling point, freezing point, and osmotic pressure)
• Perform calculations using the mathematical equations that describe these various colligative effects
• Describe the process of distillation and its practical applications
• Explain the process of osmosis and describe how it is applied industrially and in nature

The properties of a solution are different from those of either the pure solute(s) or solvent. Many solution properties are dependent upon the chemical identity of the solute. Compared to pure water, a solution of hydrogen chloride is more acidic, a solution of ammonia is more basic, a solution of sodium chloride is denser, and a solution of sucrose is more viscous. There are a few solution properties, however, that depend only upon the total concentration of solute species, regardless of their identities. These include vapour pressure lowering, boiling point elevation, freezing point depression, and osmotic pressure. This small set of properties is of central importance to many natural phenomena and technological applications, as will be described in this module.

## Mole Fraction and Molality

Several units commonly used to express the concentrations of solution components were introduced in an earlier chapter of this text, each providing certain benefits for use in different applications. For example, molarity (M) is a convenient unit for use in stoichiometric calculations, since it is defined in terms of the molar amounts of solute species:

$M = \frac{\text{mol solute}}{\text{L solution}}$

Because solution volumes vary with temperature, molar concentrations will likewise vary. When expressed as molarity, the concentration of a solution with identical numbers of solute and solvent species will be different at different temperatures, due to the contraction/expansion of the solution. More appropriate for calculations involving many colligative properties are mole-based concentration units whose values are not dependent on temperature. Two such units are mole fraction (introduced in the previous chapter on gases) and molality.

The mole fraction, X, of a component is the ratio of its molar amount to the total number of moles of all solution components:

$X_{\text{A}} = \frac{\text{mol A}}{\text{total mol of all components}}$

is a concentration unit defined as the ratio of the numbers of moles of solute to the mass of the solvent in kilograms:

$m = \frac{\text{mol solute}}{\text{kg solvent}}$

Since these units are computed using only masses and molar amounts, they do not vary with temperature and, thus, are better suited for applications requiring temperature-independent concentrations, including several colligative properties, as will be described in this chapter module.

### Example 14.5a

#### Calculating Mole Fraction and Molality

The antifreeze in most automobile radiators is a mixture of equal volumes of ethylene glycol and water, with minor amounts of other additives that prevent corrosion. What are the (a) mole fraction and (b) molality of ethylene glycol, C2H4(OH)2, in a solution prepared from 2.22 × 103 g of ethylene glycol and 2.00 × 103 g of water (approximately 2 L of glycol and 2 L of water)?

#### Solution

(a) The mole fraction of ethylene glycol may be computed by first deriving molar amounts of both solution components and then substituting these amounts into the unit definition.

$\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2 = 2220\;\text{g}\;\times\;\frac{1\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2}{62.07\;\text{g C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2} = 35.8\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2$
$\text{mol H}_2\text{O} = 2000\;\text{g}\;\times\;\frac{1\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}}{18.02\;\text{g H}_2\text{O}} = 11.1\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}$
$X_{\text{ethylene glycol}} = \frac{35.8\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2}{(35.8\;+\;11.1)\;\text{mol total}} = 0.763$

Notice that mole fraction is a dimensionless property, being the ratio of properties with identical units (moles).

(b) To find molality, we need to know the moles of the solute and the mass of the solvent (in kg).

First, use the given mass of ethylene glycol and its molar mass to find the moles of solute:

$2220\;\text{g C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2\;(\frac{\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_2(\text{OH})_2}{62.07\;\text{g}}) = 35.8\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2$

Then, convert the mass of the water from grams to kilograms:

$2000\;\text{g H}_2\text{O}\;(\frac{1\;\text{kg}}{1000\;\text{g}}) = 2\;\text{kg H}_2\text{O}$

Finally, calculate molarity per its definition:

$\begin{array}{r @{{}={}} l} \text{molality} & = \frac{\text{mol solute}}{\text{kg solvent}} \\[1em] \text{molality} & = \frac{35.8\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_4(\text{OH})_2}{2\;\text{kg H}_2\text{O}} \\[1em] \text{molality} & = 17.9\;m \end{array}$

### Exercise 14.5a

What are the mole fraction and molality of a solution that contains 0.850 g of ammonia, NH3, dissolved in 125 g of water?

### Example 14.5b

#### Converting Mole Fraction and Molal Concentrations

Calculate the mole fraction of solute and solvent in a 3.0 m solution of sodium chloride.

#### Solution

Converting from one concentration unit to another is accomplished by first comparing the two unit definitions. In this case, both units have the same numerator (moles of solute) but different denominators. The provided molal concentration may be written as:

$\frac{3.0\;\text{mol NaCl}}{1.0\;\text{kg H}_2\text{O}}$

The numerator for this solution’s mole fraction is, therefore, 3.0 mol NaCl. The denominator may be computed by deriving the molar amount of water corresponding to 1.0 kg

$1.0\;\text{kg H}_2\text{O}\;(\frac{1000\;\text{g}}{1\;\text{kg}})(\frac{\text{mol H}_2\text{O}}{18.02\;\text{g}}) = 55\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}$

and then substituting these molar amounts into the definition for mole fraction.

$\begin{array}{r @{{}={}} l} X_{\text{H}_2\text{O}} & = \frac{\text{mol H}_2\text{O}}{\text{mol NaCl}\;+\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}} \\[0.75em] X_{\text{H}_2\text{O}} & = \frac{55\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}}{3.0\;\text{mol NaCl}\;+\;55\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}} \\[0.75em] X_{\text{H}_2\text{O}} & = 0.95 \\[0.75em] X_{\text{NaCl}} & = \frac{\text{mol NaCl}}{\text{mol NaCl}\;+\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}} \\[0.75em] X_{\text{NaCl}} & = \frac{3.0\;\text{mol NaCl}}{3.0\;\text{mol NaCl}\;+\;55\;\text{mol H}_2\text{O}} \\[0.75em] X_{\text{NaCl}} & = 0.052 \end{array}$

### Exercise 14.5b

The mole fraction of iodine, I2, dissolved in dichloromethane, CH2Cl2, is 0.115. What is the molal concentration, m, of iodine in this solution?

## Vapour Pressure Lowering

As described in the chapter on liquids and solids, the equilibrium vapour pressure of a liquid is the pressure exerted by its gaseous phase when vaporization and condensation are occurring at equal rates:

$\text{liquid}\;{\leftrightharpoons}\;\text{gas}$

Dissolving a nonvolatile substance in volatile liquid results in a lowering of the liquid’s vapour pressure. This phenomenon can be rationalized by considering the effect of added solute molecules on the liquid’s vaporization and condensation processes. To vaporize, solvent molecules must be present at the surface of the solution. The presence of solute decreases the surface area available to solvent molecules and thereby reduces the rate of solvent vaporization. Since the rate of condensation is unaffected by the presence of solute, the net result is that the vaporization-condensation equilibrium is achieved with fewer solvent molecules in the vapour phase (i.e., at a lower vapour pressure) (Figure 14.5a). While this kinetic interpretation is useful, it does not account for several important aspects of the colligative nature of vapour pressure lowering. A more rigorous explanation involves the property of entropy, a topic of discussion in a later chapter on thermodynamics. For purposes of understanding the lowering of a liquid’s vapour pressure, it is adequate to note that the greater entropy of a solution in comparison to its separate solvent and solute serves to effectively stabilize the solvent molecules and hinder their vaporization. A lower vapour pressure result and a correspondingly higher boiling point is described in the next section of this module. Figure 14.5a The presence of nonvolatile solutes lowers the vapour pressure of a solution by impeding the evaporation of solvent molecules (credit: Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

The relationship between the vapour pressures of solution components and the concentrations of those components is described by The partial pressure exerted by any component of an ideal solution is equal to the vapour pressure of the pure component multiplied by its mole fraction in the solution.

$P_{\text{A}} = X_{\text{A}}P_{\text{A}}^{\circ}$

where PA is the partial pressure exerted by component A in the solution, $P_{\text{A}}^{\circ}$ is the vapour pressure of pure A, and XA is the mole fraction of A in the solution. (Mole fraction is a concentration unit introduced in the chapter on gases.)

Recalling that the total pressure of a gaseous mixture is equal to the sum of partial pressures for all its components (Dalton’s law of partial pressures), the total vapour pressure exerted by a solution containing i components is

$P_{\text{solution}} = \sum\limits_{i}\;P_i = \sum\limits_{i}\;X_iP_i^{\circ}$

A nonvolatile substance is one whose vapour pressure is negligible (P° ≈ 0), and so the vapour pressure above a solution containing only nonvolatile solutes is due only to the solvent:

$P_{\text{solution}} = X_{\text{solvent}}P_{\text{solvent}}^{\circ}$

### Example 14.5c

#### Calculation of a Vapour Pressure

Compute the vapour pressure of an ideal solution containing 92.1 g of glycerin, C3H5(OH)3, and 184.4 g of ethanol, C2H5OH, at 40 °C. The vapour pressure of pure ethanol is 0.178 atm at 40 °C. Glycerin is essentially nonvolatile at this temperature.

#### Solution

Since the solvent is the only volatile component of this solution, its vapour pressure may be computed per Raoult’s law as:

$P_{\text{solution}} = X_{\text{solvent}}P_{\text{solvent}}^{\circ}$

First, calculate the molar amounts of each solution component using the provided mass data.

$92.1\; \rule[0.5ex]{5.5em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-5.5em}\text{g C}_3\text{H}_5(\text{OH})_3\;\times\;\frac{1\;\text{mol C}_3\text{H}_5(\text{OH})_3}{92.094\; \rule[0.25ex]{4.25em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-4.25em}\text{g C}_3\text{H}_5(\text{OH})_3} = 1.00\;\text{mol C}_3\text{H}_5(\text{OH})_3$
$184.4\; \rule[0.5ex]{5em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-5em}\text{g C}_2\text{H}_5\text{OH}\;\times\;\frac{1\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_5\text{OH}}{46.069\; \rule[0.25ex]{3.75em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-3.75em}\text{g C}_2\text{H}_5\text{OH}} = 4.000\;\text{mol C}_2\text{H}_5\text{OH}$

Next, calculate the mole fraction of the solvent (ethanol) and use Raoult’s law to compute the solution’s vapour pressure.

$X_{\text{C}_2\text{H}_5\text{OH}} = \frac{4.000\;\text{mol}}{(1.00\;\text{mol}\;+\;4.000\;\text{mol})} = 0.800$
$P_{\text{solv}} = X_{\text{solv}}P_{\text{solv}}^{\circ} = 0.800\;\times\;0.178\;\text{atm} = 0.142\;\text{atm}$

### Exercise 14.5c

A solution contains 5.00 g of urea, CO(NH2)2 (a nonvolatile solute) and 0.100 kg of water. If the vapour pressure of pure water at 25 °C is 23.7 torr, what is the vapour pressure of the solution?

## Elevation of the Boiling Point of a Solvent

As described in the chapter on liquids and solids, the boiling point of a liquid is the temperature at which its vapour pressure is equal to ambient atmospheric pressure. Since the vapour pressure of a solution is lowered due to the presence of nonvolatile solutes, it stands to reason that the solution’s boiling point will subsequently be increased. Compared to pure solvent, a solution, therefore, will require a higher temperature to achieve any given vapour pressure, including one equivalent to that of the surrounding atmosphere. The increase in boiling point observed when nonvolatile solute is dissolved in a solvent, ΔTb, is called and is directly proportional to the molal concentration of solute species:

${\Delta}T_{\text{b}} = K_{\text{b}}m$

where Kb is the , or the ebullioscopic constant, and m is the molal concentration (molality) of all solute species.

Boiling point elevation constants are characteristic properties that depend on the identity of the solvent. Values of Kb for several solvents are listed in Table 14.5a.

Table 14.5a Boiling Point Elevation and Freezing Point Depression Constants for Several Solvents
Solvent Boiling Point (°C at 1 atm) Kb (Cm−1) Freezing Point (°C at 1 atm) Kf (Cm−1)
water 100.0 0.512 0.0 1.86
hydrogen acetate 118.1 3.07 16.6 3.9
benzene 80.1 2.53 5.5 5.12
chloroform 61.26 3.63 −63.5 4.68
nitrobenzene 210.9 5.24 5.67 8.1

The extent to which the vapour pressure of a solvent is lowered and the boiling point is elevated depends on the total number of solute particles present in a given amount of solvent, not on the mass or size or chemical identities of the particles. A 1 m aqueous solution of sucrose (342 g/mol) and a 1 m aqueous solution of ethylene glycol (62 g/mol) will exhibit the same boiling point because each solution has one mole of solute particles (molecules) per kilogram of solvent.

### Example 14.5d

#### Calculating the Boiling Point of a Solution

What is the boiling point of a 0.33 m solution of a nonvolatile solute in benzene? #### Solution

Use the equation relating boiling point elevation to solute molality to solve this problem in two steps.

1. Calculate the change in boiling point.
${\Delta}T_{\text{b}} = K_{\text{b}}m = 2.53\;^{\circ}\text{C}m^{-1}\;\times\;0.33\;m = 0.83\;^{\circ}\text{C}$
2. Add the boiling point elevation to the pure solvent’s boiling point.
$\text{Boiling temperature} = 80.1\;^{\circ}\text{C}\;+\;0.83\;^{\circ}\text{C} = 80.9\;^{\circ}\text{C}$

### Exercise 14.5d

What is the boiling point of the antifreeze with a molality of 17.9 m in Example 14.5a (Hint: Water is the solvent).

### Example 14.5e

#### The Boiling Point of an Iodine Solution

Find the boiling point of a solution of 92.1 g of iodine, I2, in 800.0 g of chloroform, CHCl3, assuming that the iodine is nonvolatile and that the solution is ideal. #### Solution

We can solve this problem using four steps.

1. Convert from grams to moles of I2using the molar mass of I2in the unit conversion factor.
Result: 0.363 mol
2. Determine the molality of the solution from the number of moles of solute and the mass of solvent, in kilograms.
Result: 0.454 m
3. Use the direct proportionality between the change in boiling point and molal concentration to determine how much the boiling point changes.
Result: 1.65 °C
4. Determine the new boiling point from the boiling point of the pure solvent and the change.
Result: 62.91 °C
Check each result as a self-assessment.

### Exercise 14.5e

What is the boiling point of a solution of 1.0 g of glycerin, C3H5(OH)3, in 47.8 g of water? Assume an ideal solution.

## Distillation of Solutions

Distillation is a technique for separating the components of mixtures that is widely applied both in the laboratory and in industrial settings. It is used to refine petroleum, to isolate fermentation products, and to purify water. This separation technique involves the controlled heating of a sample mixture to selectively vaporize, condense, and collect one or more components of interest. A typical apparatus for laboratory-scale distillations is shown in Figure 14.5d. Figure 14.5b A typical laboratory distillation unit is shown in (a) a photograph and (b) a schematic diagram of the components. (credit a: modification of work by Rifleman82, PD; credit b: modification of work adapted by Slashme, PD  in Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

Oil refineries use large-scale fractional distillation to separate the components of crude oil. The crude oil is heated to high temperatures at the base of a tall fractionating column, vaporizing many of the components that rise within the column. As vaporized components reach adequately cool zones during their ascent, they condense and are collected. The collected liquids are simpler mixtures of hydrocarbons and other petroleum compounds that are of appropriate composition for various applications (e.g., diesel fuel, kerosene, gasoline), as depicted in Figure 14.5c. Figure 14.5c Crude oil is a complex mixture that is separated by large-scale fractional distillation to isolate various simpler mixtures. (credit: modification of work by Luigi Chiesa, CC BY 3.0 in Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).)

## Depression of the Freezing Point of a Solvent

Solutions freeze at lower temperatures than pure liquids. This phenomenon is exploited in “de-icing” schemes that use salt (Figure 14.5d), calcium chloride, or urea to melt ice on roads and sidewalks, and in the use of ethylene glycol as an “antifreeze” in automobile radiators. Seawater freezes at a lower temperature than freshwater, and so the Arctic and Antarctic oceans remain unfrozen even at temperatures below 0 °C (as do the body fluids of fish and other cold-blooded sea animals that live in these oceans). Figure 14.5d Rock salt (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl2), or a mixture of the two are used to melt ice. (credit: modification of work by Eddie Welker, CC BY 2.0)

The decrease in the freezing point of a dilute solution compared to that of the pure solvent, ΔTf, is called the and is directly proportional to the molal concentration of the solute

${\Delta}T_{\text{f}} = K_{\text{f}}m$

where m is the molal concentration of the solute in the solvent and Kf is called the (or cryoscopic constant). Just as for boiling point elevation constants, these are characteristic properties whose values depend on the chemical identity of the solvent. Values of Kf for several solvents are listed in Table 14.5a.

### Example 14.5f

#### Calculation of the Freezing Point of a Solution

What is the freezing point of the 0.33 m solution of a nonvolatile nonelectrolyte solute in benzene described in Example 14.5b?

#### Solution

Use the equation relating freezing point depression to solute molality to solve this problem in two steps. 1. Calculate the change in freezing point.
${\Delta}T_{\text{f}} = K_{\text{f}}m = 5.12\;^{\circ}\text{C}m^{-1}\;\times\;0.33m = 1.7\;^{\circ}\text{C}$
2. Subtract the freezing point change observed from the pure solvent’s freezing point.
$\text{Freezing temperature} = 5.5\;^{\circ}\text{C}\;-\;1.7\;^{\circ}\text{C} = 3.8\;^{\circ}\text{C}$

### Exercise 14.5f

What is the freezing point of a 1.85 m solution of a nonvolatile nonelectrolyte solute in nitrobenzene?

### Colligative Properties and De-Icing

Sodium chloride and its group 2 analogs calcium and magnesium chloride are often used to de-ice roadways and sidewalks, due to the fact that a solution of any one of these salts will have a freezing point lower than 0 °C, the freezing point of pure water. The group 2 metal salts are frequently mixed with the cheaper and more readily available sodium chloride (“rock salt”) for use on roads, since they tend to be somewhat less corrosive than the NaCl, and they provide a larger depression of the freezing point, since they dissociate to yield three particles per formula unit, rather than two particles like the sodium chloride.

Because these ionic compounds tend to hasten the corrosion of metal, they would not be a wise choice to use in antifreeze for the radiator in your car or to de-ice a plane prior to takeoff. For these applications, covalent compounds, such as ethylene or propylene glycol, are often used. The glycols used in radiator fluid not only lower the freezing point of the liquid, but they elevate the boiling point, making the fluid useful in both winter and summer. Heated glycols are often sprayed onto the surface of airplanes prior to takeoff in inclement weather in the winter to remove ice that has already formed and prevent the formation of more ice, which would be particularly dangerous if formed on the control surfaces of the aircraft (Figure 14.5e). Figure 14.5e Freezing point depression is exploited to remove ice from (a) roadways and (b) the control surfaces of aircraft. (credit a: work by Oregon Department of Transportation, CC BY 2.0; credit b: work by Paolo Cerutti, CC BY 2.0)

## Phase Diagram for an Aqueous Solution of a Nonelectrolyte

The colligative effects on vapour pressure, boiling point, and freezing point described in the previous section are conveniently summarized by comparing the phase diagrams for a pure liquid and a solution derived from that liquid. Phase diagrams for water and an aqueous solution are shown in Figure 14.5f. Figure 14.5f These phase diagrams show water (solid curves) and an aqueous solution of nonelectrolyte (dashed curves) (credit: Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

The liquid-vapour curve for the solution is located beneath the corresponding curve for the solvent, depicting the vapour pressure lowering, ΔP, that results from the dissolution of nonvolatile solute. Consequently, at any given pressure, the solution’s boiling point is observed at a higher temperature than that for the pure solvent, reflecting the boiling point elevation, ΔTb, associated with the presence of nonvolatile solute. The solid-liquid curve for the solution is displaced left of that for the pure solvent, representing the freezing point depression, ΔTb, that accompanies solution formation. Finally, notice that the solid-gas curves for the solvent and its solution are identical. This is the case for many solutions comprising liquid solvents and nonvolatile solutes. Just as for vaporization, when a solution of this sort is frozen, it is actually just the solvent molecules that undergo the liquid-to-solid transition, forming pure solid solvent that excludes solute species. The solid and gaseous phases, therefore, are composed solvent only, and so transitions between these phases are not subject to colligative effects.

## Osmosis and Osmotic Pressure of Solutions

A number of natural and synthetic materials exhibit selective permeation, meaning that only molecules or ions of a certain size, shape, polarity, charge, and so forth, are capable of passing through (permeating) the material. Biological cell membranes provide elegant examples of selective permeation in nature, while dialysis tubing used to remove metabolic wastes from blood is a more simplistic technological example. Regardless of how they may be fabricated, these materials are generally referred to as

Consider the apparatus illustrated in Figure 14.5g, in which samples of pure solvent and a solution are separated by a membrane that only solvent molecules may permeate. Solvent molecules will diffuse across the membrane in both directions. Since the concentration of solvent is greater in the pure solvent than in the solution, these molecules will diffuse from the solvent side of the membrane to the solution side at a faster rate than they will in the reverse direction. The result is a net transfer of solvent molecules from the pure solvent to the solution. Diffusion-driven transfer of solvent molecules through a semipermeable membrane is a process known as Figure 14.5g Osmosis results in the transfer of solvent molecules from a sample of low (or zero) solute concentration to a sample of higher solute concentration in Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

When osmosis is carried out in an apparatus like that shown in Figure 14.5g, the volume of the solution increases as it becomes diluted by accumulation of solvent. This causes the level of the solution to rise, increasing its hydrostatic pressure (due to the weight of the column of solution in the tube) and resulting in a faster transfer of solvent molecules back to the pure solvent side. When the pressure reaches a value that yields a reverse solvent transfer rate equal to the osmosis rate, bulk transfer of solvent ceases. This pressure is called the of the solution. The osmotic pressure of a dilute solution is related to its solute molarity, M, and absolute temperature, T, according to the equation

$\it{{\Pi}} = MRT$

where R is the universal gas constant.

### Example 14.5g

#### Calculation of Osmotic Pressure

What is the osmotic pressure (atm) of a 0.30 M solution of glucose in water that is used for intravenous infusion at body temperature, 37 °C?

#### Solution

We can find the osmotic pressure, Π, using the formula Π = MRT, where T is on the Kelvin scale (310 K) and the value of R is expressed in appropriate units (0.08206 L atm/mol K).

$\begin{array}{r @{{}={}} l} \it{{\Pi}} & = MRT \\[0.5em] & = 0.03\;\text{mol/L}\;\times\;0.08206\;\text{L atm/mol K}\;\times\;310\;\text{K} \\[0.5em] & = 7.6\;\text{atm} \end{array}$

### Exercise 14.5g

What is the osmotic pressure (atm) a solution with a volume of 0.750 L that contains 5.0 g of methanol, CH3OH, in water at 37 °C

If a solution is placed in an apparatus like the one shown in Figure 14.5h, applying pressure greater than the osmotic pressure of the solution reverses the osmosis and pushes solvent molecules from the solution into the pure solvent. This technique of reverse osmosis is used for large-scale desalination of seawater and on smaller scales to produce high-purity tap water for drinking. Figure 14.5h Applying a pressure greater than the osmotic pressure of a solution will reverse osmosis. Solvent molecules from the solution are pushed into the pure solvent in Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

### Reverse Osmosis Water Purification

In the process of osmosis, diffusion serves to move water through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution to a more concentrated solution. Osmotic pressure is the amount of pressure that must be applied to the more concentrated solution to cause osmosis to stop. If greater pressure is applied, the water will go from the more concentrated solution to a less concentrated (more pure) solution. This is called reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis (RO) is used to purify water in many applications, from desalination plants in coastal cities, to water-purifying machines in grocery stores, and smaller reverse-osmosis household units. With a hand-operated pump, small RO units can be used in third-world countries, disaster areas, and in lifeboats. Our military forces have a variety of generator-operated RO units that can be transported in vehicles to remote locations.

Examples of osmosis are evident in many biological systems because cells are surrounded by semipermeable membranes. Carrots and celery that have become limp because they have lost water can be made crisp again by placing them in water. Water moves into the carrot or celery cells by osmosis. A cucumber placed in a concentrated salt solution loses water by osmosis and absorbs some salt to become a pickle. Osmosis can also affect animal cells. Solute concentrations are particularly important when solutions are injected into the body. Solutes in body cell fluids and blood serum give these solutions an osmotic pressure of approximately 7.7 atm. Solutions injected into the body must have the same osmotic pressure as blood serum; that is, they should be with blood serum. If a less concentrated solution, a solution, is injected in sufficient quantity to dilute the blood serum, water from the diluted serum passes into the blood cells by osmosis, causing the cells to expand and rupture. This process is called . When a more concentrated solution, a solution, is injected, the cells lose water to the more concentrated solution, shrivel, and possibly die in a process called . These effects are illustrated in Figure 14.5i. Figure 14.5i Red blood cell membranes are water permeable and will (a) swell and possibly rupture in a hypotonic solution; (b) maintain normal volume and shape in an isotonic solution; and (c) shrivel and possibly die in a hypertonic solution. (credit a/b/c: modifications of work by LadyofHats, PD in Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

## Determination of Molar Masses

Osmotic pressure and changes in freezing point, boiling point, and vapour pressure are directly proportional to the concentration of solute present. Consequently, we can use a measurement of one of these properties to determine the molar mass of the solute from the measurements.

### Example 14.5h

#### Determination of a Molar Mass from a Freezing Point Depression

A solution of 4.00 g of a nonelectrolyte dissolved in 55.0 g of benzene is found to freeze at 2.32 °C. What is the molar mass of this compound?

#### Solution

We can solve this problem using the following steps. 1. Determine the change in freezing point from the observed freezing point and the freezing point of pure benzene (Table 14.5a).
${\Delta}T_{\text{f}} = 5.5\;^{\circ}\text{C}\;-\;2.32\;^{\circ}\text{C} = 3.2\;^{\circ}\text{C}$
2. Determine the molal concentration from Kf, the freezing point depression constant for benzene (Table 14.5a), and ΔTf.
${\Delta}T_{\text{f}} = K_{\text{f}}m$
$m = \frac{{\Delta}T_{\text{f}}}{K_{\text{f}}} = \frac{3.2\;^{\circ}\text{C}}{5.12\;^{\circ}\text{C}m^{-1}} = 0.63m$
3. Determine the number of moles of compound in the solution from the molal concentration and the mass of solvent used to make the solution.
$\text{Moles of solute} = \frac{0.62\;\text{mol solute}}{1.00\; \rule[0.25ex]{3.5em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-3.5em}\text{kg solvent}}\;\times\;0.0550\; \rule[0.5ex]{4.4em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-4.4em}\text{kg solvent} = 0.035\;\text{mol}$
4. Determine the molar mass from the mass of the solute and the number of moles in that mass.
$\text{Molar mass} = \frac{4.00\;\text{g}}{0.034\;\text{mol}} = 1.2\;\times\;10^2\;\text{g/mol}$

### Exercise 14.5h

A solution of 35.7 g of a nonelectrolyte in 220.0 g of chloroform has a boiling point of 64.5 °C. What is the molar mass of this compound?

### Example 14.5i

#### Determination of a Molar Mass from Osmotic Pressure

A 0.500 L sample of an aqueous solution containing 10.0 g of hemoglobin has an osmotic pressure of 5.9 torr at 22 °C. What is the molar mass of hemoglobin?

#### Solution

Here is one set of steps that can be used to solve the problem: 1. Convert the osmotic pressure to atmospheres, then determine the molar concentration from the osmotic pressure.
${\it{\Pi}} = \frac{5.9\;\text{torr}\;\times\;1\;\text{atm}}{760\;\text{torr}} = 7.8\;\times\;10^{-3}\;\text{atm}$
$\it{\Pi} = MRT$
$M = \frac{\it{\Pi}}{RT} = \frac{7.8\;\times\;10^{-3}\;\text{atm}}{(0.08206\;\text{L atm/mol K})(295\;\text{K})} = 3.2\;\times\;10^{-4}\;\text{M}$
2. Determine the number of moles of hemoglobin in the solution from the concentration and the volume of the solution.
$\text{moles of hemoglobin} = \frac{3.2\;\times\;10^{-4}\;\text{mol}}{1\; \rule[0.25ex]{3.5em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-3.5em}\text{L solution}}\;\times\;0.500\; \rule[0.5ex]{4.4em}{0.1ex}\hspace{-4.4em}\text{L solution} = 1.6\;\times\;10^{-4}\;\text{mol}$
3. Determine the molar mass from the mass of hemoglobin and the number of moles in that mass.
$\text{molar mass} = \frac{10.0\;\text{g}}{1.6\;\times\;10^{-4}\;\text{mol}} = 6.2\;\times\;10^4\;\text{g/mol}$

### Exercise 14.5i

What is the molar mass of a protein if a solution of 0.02 g of the protein in 25.0 mL of the solution has an osmotic pressure of 0.56 torr at 25 °C?

## Colligative Properties of Electrolytes

As noted previously in this module, the colligative properties of a solution depend only on the number, not on the kind, of solute species dissolved. For example, 1 mole of any nonelectrolyte dissolved in 1 kilogram of solvent produces the same lowering of the freezing point as does 1 mole of any other nonelectrolyte. However, 1 mole of sodium chloride (an electrolyte) forms 2 moles of ions when dissolved in solution. Each individual ion produces the same effect on the freezing point as a single molecule does.

### Example 14.5j

#### The Freezing Point of a Solution of an Electrolyte

The concentration of ions in seawater is approximately the same as that in a solution containing 4.2 g of NaCl dissolved in 125 g of water. Assume that each of the ions in the NaCl solution has the same effect on the freezing point of water as a nonelectrolyte molecule, and determine the freezing temperature the solution (which is approximately equal to the freezing temperature of seawater).

#### Solution

We can solve this problem using the following series of steps. 1. Convert from grams to moles of NaCl using the molar mass of NaCl in the unit conversion factor.
Result: 0.072 mol NaCl
2. Determine the number of moles of ions present in the solution using the number of moles of ions in 1 mole of NaCl as the conversion factor (2 mol ions/1 mol NaCl).
Result: 0.14 mol ions
3. Determine the molality of the ions in the solution from the number of moles of ions and the mass of solvent, in kilograms.
Result: 1.1 m
4. Use the direct proportionality between the change in freezing point and molal concentration to determine how much the freezing point changes.
Result: 2.0 °C
5. Determine the new freezing point from the freezing point of the pure solvent and the change.
Result: −2.0 °C
Check each result as a self-assessment.

### Exercise 14.5j

Assume that each of the ions in calcium chloride, CaCl2, has the same effect on the freezing point of water as a nonelectrolyte molecule. Calculate the freezing point of a solution of 0.724 g of CaCl2 in 175 g of water.

Assuming complete dissociation, a 1.0 m aqueous solution of NaCl contains 1.0 mole of ions (1.0 mol Na+ and 1.0 mol Cl) per each kilogram of water, and its freezing point depression is expected to be

${\Delta}T_{\text{f}} = 2.0\;\text{mol ions/kg water}\;\times\;1.86\;^{\circ}\text{C kg water/mol ion} = 3.7\;^{\circ}\text{C}$.

When this solution is actually prepared and its freezing point depression measured, however, a value of 3.4 °C is obtained. Similar discrepancies are observed for other ionic compounds, and the differences between the measured and expected colligative property values typically become more significant as solute concentrations increase. These observations suggest that the ions of sodium chloride (and other strong electrolytes) are not completely dissociated in solution.

To account for this and avoid the errors accompanying the assumption of total dissociation, an experimentally measured parameter named in honour of Nobel Prize-winning German chemist Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff is used. The is defined as the ratio of solute particles in solution to the number of formula units dissolved:

$i = \frac{\text{moles of particles in solution}}{\text{moles of formula units dissolved}}$

Values for measured van’t Hoff factors for several solutes, along with predicted values assuming complete dissociation, are shown in Table 14.5b.

Table 14.5b Expected and Observed van’t Hoff Factors for Several 0.050 m Aqueous Electrolyte Solutions
Electrolyte Particles in Solution i (Predicted) i (Measured)
HCl H+, Cl 2 1.9
NaCl Na+, Cl 2 1.9
MgSO4 Mg2+, SO42- 2 1.3
MgCl2 Mg2+, 2Cl 3 2.7
FeCl3 Fe3+, 3Cl 4 3.4
glucose C12H22O11 1 1.0

In 1923, the chemists Peter Debye and Erich Hückel proposed a theory to explain the apparent incomplete ionization of strong electrolytes. They suggested that although interionic attraction in an aqueous solution is very greatly reduced by solvation of the ions and the insulating action of the polar solvent, it is not completely nullified. The residual attractions prevent the ions from behaving as totally independent particles (Figure 14.5j). In some cases, a positive and negative ion may actually touch, giving a solvated unit called an ion pair. Thus, the activity, or the effective concentration, of any particular kind of ion is less than that indicated by the actual concentration. Ions become more and more widely separated the more dilute the solution, and the residual interionic attractions become less and less. Thus, in extremely dilute solutions, the effective concentrations of the ions (their activities) are essentially equal to the actual concentrations. Note that the van’t Hoff factors for the electrolytes in Table 14.5b are for 0.05 m solutions, at which concentration the value of i for NaCl is 1.9, as opposed to an ideal value of 2. Figure 14.5j Ions become more and more widely separated the more dilute the solution, and the residual interionic attractions become less (credit: Chemistry (OpenStax), CC BY 4.0).

## Key Equations

• $(P_{\text{A}} = X_{\text{A}}P_{\text{A}}^{\circ})$
• $P_{\text{solution}} = \sum\limits_{i}\;P_i = \sum\limits_{i}\;X_iP_i^{\circ}$
• $P_{\text{solution}} = X_{\text{solvent}}P_{\text{solvent}}^{\circ}$
• ΔTb = Kbm
• ΔTf = Kfm
• Π = MRT

Except where otherwise noted, this page is adapted by Gregory A. Anderson from “11.4 Colligative Properties” In General Chemistry 1 & 2 by Rice University, a derivative of Chemistry (Open Stax) by Paul Flowers, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley & William R. Robinson and is licensed under CC BY 4.0. ​Access for free at Chemistry (OpenStax)​ .

1. 7.14 × 10−3; 0.399 m
2. 1.50 m
3. 23.4 torr
4. 109.2 °C
5. 100.12 °C
6. −9.3 °C
7. 5.3 atm
8. 1.8 × 102 g/mol
9. 2.7 × 104 g/mol
10. −0.208 °C
11. A nonelectrolyte shown for comparison. 