A triphasic analysis of negative osmotic flows through charged hydrated soft tissues
Osmotic flow and ion transport in a one-dimensional steady diffusion process through charged hydrated soft tissues such as articular cartilage were analysed using the triphasic theory (Lai et al., 1991, J. biomech. Engng 113, 245-258). It was found that solvent would flow from the high NaCl concentration side to the low concentration side (i.e. negative osmosis) when the fixed charge density within the tissue (or membrane) separating the two electrolyte (NaCl) solutions was lower than a critical value. The condition for negative osmosis was derived based on a linear version of the triphasic theory. Distributions of ion concentration and strain field within the tissue were calculated numerically. Quantitative results of osmotic flow rates (ordinary and negative osmosis), ion flux and electric potential across the tissue during this diffusion process suggest that the negative osmosis phenomenon is due to the friction between ions and water since they could flow through the tissues at different rates and different directions.
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