Osmosis and its Effects on
Red Blood Cell Volume


In this simulation, we introduce isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic solutions. We show how changes in extracellular and intracellular salts and proteins can cause net movements of water molecules into or out of the cells. As the animation illustrates, a large influx of water can lead to cell swelling and even bursting, while water outflow leads to cell shrinkage and bizarre cell shapes due to the proteins left behind.