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Can osmotic pressure kill a man in a swimming pool?

  1. Oct 6, 2009 #1
    suppose a man is swimming in a pool. as the potential of solvent(water) is greater in the pool than in the cells, water should seep into the cells causing them to become turgid and finally burst,but this doesnt happen...

    what is the reason for this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2009 #2


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    Dearly Missed

    I hope you realize that this conundrum ALSO applies, say, to fish?

    How do you think it could be solved?

    What would be required of the organism's make-up not to become bloated?
  4. Oct 6, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    skin is rather impermeable. Have you ever sat in a bathtub for more than a few minutes?
  5. Oct 6, 2009 #4


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    Well, not really....
    Well, the fish is in water that is reasonably well suited to its make-up. The human is not...
  6. Oct 7, 2009 #5
    Actually what you say happens in reality, but only to limited part of the human skin.
    Skin is covered with keratin and lipidic compounds that make it impermeable. This layer of skin is the outer one. Some parts of your body, though, due to constant friction and stress lack part of this protective layer, a common example is represented by your fingertips.
    This is why the cells of your fingertips when exposed for long time to water become turgid with the well-know phenomenon of wrinkling. (even if some scientist prefer a vasoconstriction explanation).

    So keep doing your bath without panic... your skill is really impermeable... with few exceptions...
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