# Fick's law of diffusion

**Fick's laws of diffusion**describediffusion and can be used to solve for the**diffusion coefficient**"D". They were derived byAdolf Fick in the year 1855.**First law****Fick's first law**relates the diffusive flux to the concentration field, by postulating that the flux goes from regions of high concentration to regions of low concentration, with a magnitude that is proportional to the concentration gradient (spatial derivative). In one (spatial) dimension, this is:$igg.\; J\; =\; -\; D\; frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; x\}\; igg.$where

* $J$ is the diffusion flux in dimensions of [(

amount of substance ) length^{−2}time^{-1}] , example $igg(frac\{mathrm\{mol\{\; m^2cdot\; s\}igg)$. $J$ measures the amount of substance that will flow through a small area during a small time interval.* $,\; D$ is the

**diffusion coefficient**or**diffusivity**in dimensions of [length^{2}time^{−1}] , example $igg(frac\{m^2\}\{s\}igg)$* $,\; phi$ (for ideal mixtures) is the concentration in dimensions of [(amount of substance) length

^{−3}] , example $igg(fracmathrm\{mol\}\{m^3\}igg)$* $,\; x$ is the position [length] , example $,m$

$,\; D$ is proportional to the squared velocity of the diffusing particles, which depends on the temperature,

viscosity of the fluid and the size of the particles according to the Stokes-Einstein relation. In dilute aqueous solutions the diffusion coefficients of most ions are similar and have values that at room temperature are in the range of 0.6x10^{-9}to 2x10^{-9}m^{2}/s. For biological molecules the diffusion coefficients normally range from 10^{-11}to 10^{-10}m^{2}/s.In two or more dimensions we must use $abla$, the

del orgradient operator, which generalises the first derivative, obtaining:$J=-\; D\; abla\; phi$.

The driving force for the one-dimensional diffusion is the quantity $-\; frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; x\}$

which for ideal mixtures is the concentration gradient. In chemical systems other than ideal solutions or mixtures, the driving force for diffusion of each species is the gradient of

chemical potential of this species. Then Fick's first law (one-dimensional case) can be written as::$J\_i\; =\; -\; frac\{D\; c\_i\}\{RT\}\; frac\{partial\; mu\}\{partial\; x\_i\}$

where the index i denotes the ith species, c is the concentration (mol/m

^{3), R is the universal gas constant (J/(K mol)), T is the absolute temperature (K), and μ is the chemical potential (J/mol).}**Second law****Fick's second law**predicts how diffusion causes the concentration field to change with time::$frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; t\}\; =\; D,frac\{partial^2\; phi\}\{partial\; x^2\},!$

Where

* $,phi$ is the concentration in dimensions of [(amount of substance) length

^{-3}] , [mol m^{-3}]

* $,\; t$ is time [s]

* $,\; D$ is the diffusion coefficient in dimensions of [length^{2}time^{-1}] , [m^{2}s^{-1}]

* $,\; x$ is the position [length] , [m]It can be derived from Fick's First law and the

mass balance :$frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; t\}\; =-,frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\},J\; =\; frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}igg(,D,frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}phi,igg),!$

Assuming the diffusion coefficient "D" to be a constant we can exchange the orders of the differentiating and multiplying by the constant:

:$frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}igg(,D,frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}\; phi,igg)\; =\; D,frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}\; frac\{partial\}\{partial\; x\}\; ,phi\; =\; D,frac\{partial^2phi\}\{partial\; x^2\}$and, thus, receive the form of the Fick's equations as was stated above.

For the case of diffusion in two or more dimensions the Second Fick's Law is:

$frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; t\}\; =\; D,\; abla^2,phi,!$,

which is analogous to the

heat equation .If the diffusion coefficient is not a constant, but depends upon the coordinate and/or concentration, the Second Fick's Law becomes:

:$frac\{partial\; phi\}\{partial\; t\}\; =\; abla\; cdot\; (,D,\; abla,phi,),!$

An important example is the case where $phi$ is at a steady state, i.e. the concentration does not change by time, so that the left part of the above equation is identically zero. In one dimension with constant $,\; D$, the solution for the concentration will be a linear change of concentrations along $,\; x$. In two or more dimensions we obtain

:$abla^2,phi\; =0!$

which is

Laplace's equation , the solutions to which are calledharmonic functions by mathematicians.**Example solution in one dimension: diffusion length**A simple case of diffusion with time "t" in one dimension (taken as the "x"-axis) of a density $n(x,t)$ from a boundary located at position $x=0$ where the density is maintained at a value $n(0)$ is

::$n\; left(x,t\; ight)=n(0)$ $mathrm\{erfc\}\; left(egin\{matrix\}frac\{x\}\{sqrt\{4Dtend\{matrix\}\; ight)$.

where "erfc" is the complementary

error function . The length $sqrt\{4Dt\}$ is called the**diffusion length**and provides a measure of how far the density has propagated in the "x-"direction by diffusion in time "t".For more detail on diffusion length, see these [

*http://www.timedomaincvd.com/CVD_Fundamentals/xprt/diffusion_length.html examples*] .**Applicability**Equations based on Fick's law have been commonly used to model transport processes in

food s,neuron s,biopolymer s, pharmaceuticals,porous soil s,population dynamics , semiconductor doping process, etc. A large amount ofexperiment al research inpolymer science and food science has shown that a more general approach is required to describe transport of components in materials undergoingglass transition . In the vicinity of glass transition the flow behavior becomes "non-Fickian". See also non-diagonal coupled transport processes (Onsager relationship).**Temperature dependence of the diffusion coefficient**The diffusion coefficient at different temperatures is often found to be well predicted by

: $D\; =\; D\_0cdot\; e^\{-frac\{E\_\{A\{Rcdot\; T,$

where

* $,\; D$ is the diffusion coefficient

* $,\; D\_0$ is the maximum diffusion coefficient (at infinite temperature)

* $,\; E\_A$ is theactivation energy for diffusion in dimensions of [energy (amount of substance)^{−1}]

* $,\; T$ is the temperature in units of [absolute temperature] (kelvin s or degrees Rankine)

* $,\; R$ is thegas constant in dimensions of [energy temperature^{−1}(amount of substance)^{−1}]An equation of this form is known as the

Arrhenius equation .Typically, a compound's diffusion coefficient is ~10,000x greater in air than in water. Carbon dioxide in air has a diffusion coefficient of 16 mm²/s, and in water, its coefficient is 0.0016 mm²/s [

*[*] .*http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~brokawc/Bi145/Diffusion.html Diffusion*]An approximate dependence of the diffusion coefficient on temperature in liquids can often be found using

Stokes-Einstein equation , which predicts that::$frac\; \{D\_\{T1\; \{D\_\{T2\; =\; frac\; \{T\_1\}\; \{T\_2\}\; frac\; \{mu\_\{T2\; \{mu\_\{T1$

where:: T1 and T2 denote temperatures 1 and 2, respectively: D is the diffusion coefficient (m²/s): T is the absolute temperature (K),: μ is the

dynamic viscosity of the solvent (Pa·s)**Pressure dependence of the diffusion coefficient**For self-diffusion in gases at two different pressures (but the same temperature), the following empirical equation has been suggested: [

*E.L. Cussler, "Diffusion. Mass Transfer in Fluid Systems", 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1997.*] :$frac\; \{D\_\{P1\; \{D\_\{P2\; =\; frac\; \{\; ho\_\{P2\; \{\; ho\_\{P1$where:: P1 and P2 denote pressures 1 and 2, respectively: D is the diffusion coefficient (m²/s): ρ is the gas mass density (kg/m^{3})**Biological perspective**The first law gives rise to the following formula: [

*GeorgiaPhysiology|3/3ch9/s3ch9_2*]:$Flux\; =\; \{-Pcdot\; Acdot\; (c\_2\; -\; c\_1)\},!$

in which,

*$,\; P$ is the permeability, an experimentally determined membrane "conductance" for a given gas at a given temperature.

*$,\; A$ is the surface area over which diffusion is taking place.

*$,\; c\_2\; -\; c\_1$ is the difference inconcentration of the gas across the membrane for the direction of flow (from $c\_1$ to $c\_2$).Fick's first law is also important in radiation transfer equations. However, in this context it becomes inaccurate when the diffusion constant is low and the radiation becomes limited by the speed of light rather than by the resistance of the material the radiation is flowing through. In this situation, one can use a

flux limiter .The exchange rate of a gas across a fluid membrane can be determined by using this law together with

Graham's law .**Semiconductor fabrication applications**IC Fabrication technologies, model processes like CVD, Thermal Oxidation,and Wet Oxidation, Doping etc using Diffusion equations obtainedfrom Ficks law.

In certain cases, the solutions are obtained for boundary conditions such asconstant source concentration diffusion, limited source concentration,or moving boundary diffusion (where junction depth keeps moving intothe substrate).

**See also***

Gas exchange

*Lung

*Alveoli

*Osmosis

*Vascular permeability

*Diffusion

*Churchill-Bernstein Equation

*Fick **References****Notations*** A. Fick, "Phil. Mag." (1855),

**10**, 30.

* A. Fick, "Poggendorff's Annel. Physik." (1855),**94**, 59.

* W.F. Smith, "Foundations of Materials Science and Engineering 3^{rd}ed.", McGraw-Hill (2004)

* H.C. Berg, "Random Walks in Biology", Princeton (1977)**Footnotes****External links*** [

*http://www.timedomaincvd.com/CVD_Fundamentals/xprt/intro_diffusion.html Diffusion fundamentals*]

* [*http://composite-agency.com/messages/3875.html Diffusion coefficient (of gases & liquids in polymer and composite materials)*]

* [*http://www.stthomas.edu/biol/sciencebear2/respiratory/respiratorycalc/respiratorycalc.html Ficks Law Calculator and a host of other science tools*] - Rex Njoku & Dr.Anthony Steyermark

*Wikimedia Foundation.
2010.*

### Look at other dictionaries:

**Fick's laws of diffusion**— For the technique of measuring cardiac output, see Fick principle. Molecular diffusion from a microscopic and macroscopic point of view. Initially, there are solute molecules on the left side of a barrier (purple line) and none on the right. The… … Wikipedia**Fick's law**— fiks n a law of chemistry and physics: the rate of diffusion of one material in another is proportional to the negative of the gradient of the concentration of the first material … Medical dictionary**Fick's first law of diffusion formula etc.**— (fiks) [Adolf Eugen Fick, German physiologist, 1829â€“1901] see under formula, law, method, and principle … Medical dictionary**fick's law**— ˈfiks noun Usage: usually capitalized F Etymology: after Adolf Fick died 1901 German physiologist : a law of chemistry and physics: the rate of diffusion of one material in another is proportional to the negative of the gradient of the… … Useful english dictionary**Fick&’s law**— Equation that describes the process of diffusion. The flux is proportional to the concentration gradient, times the diffusion constant for the molecule in that particular medium. J= D.dC/dx … Dictionary of molecular biology**Fick's first law of diffusion**— a substance will diffuse through an area at a rate which is dependent upon the difference in concentration of the substance at two given points … Medical dictionary**Fick**— may refer to:Things*Fick principle *Fick s law of diffusionPeople with the surname Fick*Adolf Eugen Fick, German physiologist usually credited with the invention of contact lenses and for Fick s law of diffusion. *Leonard J. Fick, American… … Wikipedia**Diffusion capacity**— Diagnostics MeSH D011653 In biology, diffusion capacity is a measurement of the lung s ability to transfer gases. Oxygen uptake may be limited by diffusion in circumstances of low ambient oxygen or high pul … Wikipedia**Diffusion equation**— The diffusion equation is a partial differential equation which describes density fluctuations in a material undergoing diffusion. It is also used to describe processes exhibiting diffusive like behaviour, for instance the diffusion of alleles in … Wikipedia**Diffusion creep**— refers to the deformation of crystalline solids by the diffusion of vacancies through their crystal lattice.[1] Diffusion creep results in plastic deformation rather than brittle failure of the material. Diffusion creep is more sensitive to… … Wikipedia