Science Models
Science Fair Projects

Diffusion VS Food Coloring

Published on Sep 05, 2023


Diffusion and osmosis is a confusing topic. People always say its hard to learn, but not for me. I chose this topic because I think this will help teachers and students learn more about this topic. When people see my project I think they will appreciate the air we breathe and their bodies more. I think this because people will learn how diffusion help the body. They will also know how osmosis makes the air breathable. I thought the food coloring would diffuse fastest in the hot liquids. I was correct. My approach was to fill the beakers with water and vinegar. I would put the food coloring in and start the timer. Then I would record all of my data. Finally i stopped the timer at ten minutes and test the next one. The food coloring diffused fastest in the hot liquids and slowest in the cold liquids. My science project covered everything I wanted to learn. I reached my objective, which was finding out if food coloring would diffuse with in 10 minutes. I was able to find all of my information without trouble.



Part 1 What I Know and Want to Know

When my sister sprayed the Febreze in the air I could not quite smell it. But once it started to diffuse towards me, I soon was able to smell the strong fruity fragrance. I have always wondered how this is remotely possible. I usually spend a while thinking about it. So for my I- search project. I decided to research diffusion and osmosis.

I don’t know a whole lot about diffusion and osmosis. What I know is diffusion works in water and throughout the air. Sprayed perfume or put food coloring in water, it slowly spreads out into the air. When you put food coloring in water it also diffuses. This process is known as diffusion. Another fascinating fact I know is diffusion is very useful in the human body. For example, when you take an Advil or painkiller the pill goes into the body and slowly dissolves. It then diffuses through the body to kill the pain. The last thing I know is diffusion needs osmosis. Osmosis is the diffusion of water.

I would like to know if diffusion is possible without osmosis. Maybe diffusion has other methods or ways it works. I also want to know how fast things diffuse. My research question is: how fast will blue food coloring diffuse in different liquids and temperature.

Part 2 My Research Process

My research process was a very long and frustrating experience. First I went to a website called It gave me the definition of diffusion which I already know. So I went to another website called science It gave me loads of information. I was so excited and happy that I found this information! I knew the search wasn’t over for me, so I looked at a couple more websites. One of them was GCSE bite That website told me a lot about active transport and osmosis. I looked at two more websites called Quizlet and E They gave me no information. I was so mad I wanted to punch the computer, but I had to remember I was using a nice computer and not to break it.

I thought it would be a good idea to look at a book, so my dad took me to the Deschutes public library in Bend. At the library I looked up some books on the computer. I found nothing. So I asked the librarian. Her name was Silvia, and she was a great help! She showed me three books, but they were all only about cells, not diffusion or osmosis. Silvia told me to look at the Sisters library. She said they might have more options. It was the same thing there, nothing. So I told my mom I might not be able to find a book but I think I already have enough information.

My mom told me that my grandparents were coming over for the weekend. I thought I could interview my grandpa (Mike Narver), a retired science professor, for my project. I asked him a number of questions, but he couldn’t answer any of them. At this point I was getting frustrated. My grandpa told me to talk to our neighbor John, who is also a retired science professor. The next morning my grandma took me over to his house. He answered all of my questions. I was so excited! Finally my research process was over. I got two pages packed with information.

Part 3 What I Learned

I learned so much information it makes my head spin! In the human body, diffusion is used in the stomach, and lungs. Diffusion takes food and nutrients from the stomach and puts it into the blood stream. Diffusion also helps get oxygen to the alveolar air space. The Alveolar air space is a big air space in the body. Alveolar is where most of the oxygen goes. It also helps get the blood circulating by allowing blood to flow. In the cells, diffusion helps get oxygen in to the cell membrane. A funny fact is if diffusion doesn’t even out the ions in a cell the cell will explode!

I learned that active transport is the movement of molecules from low to high concentration. Active transport happens a lot in the air. Active transport uses energy, but passive transport does not use energy. Also osmosis is the diffusion of water. For example, when food coloring is put in water, it slowly spreads out, or diffuses. Osmosis is pretty much passive transport, which is the movement of molecules from high to low concentration. In the cell, osmosis is the diffusion of water through the plasma membrane, the outer most layer of the cell. Another fact is passive transport does not require energy, but active transport does.

Also osmosis needs a membrane but diffusion doesn’t. Diffusion is a big part of a cell. Active transport helps get proteins in and out of the cell. The proteins slowly diffuse through or over the cell membrane. The cell then sends proteins out of the cell then those proteins slowly diffuse throughout the body as well. Passive transport swishes around the molecules and proteins in a cell. Lots of scientists call passive transport the lazy process because it does not use energy at all.

Osmosis has a few main ways it works. Osmosis works in different solutions, or ways. Osmosis works actively in the blood cells a lot. If the salt solution in the blood cell is hypertonic, or increased pressure or tone, it would contain a higher concentration of solute in the blood cell. If the salt solution is isotonic, or having the same pressure as another solution it would contain the same amount of solute concentration as the blood cell.

Part 4 What this means to me

I think throughout this research process I have learned so much about the internet. I figured out good websites and bad websites to go to. I learned that sometimes it can be hard to site your sources, but no matter what you can. It can be hard to find things. Most of all, I figured out I just have to keep going don’t quit there is always more information out there. I have grown and learned so much about research.

I learned lots of things, but two main things are. Passive transport and osmosis are pretty much the same thing. This Information means a lot to me because it is a main fact about my topic and it makes it a little easier to learn. Now I can think of osmosis and also think of passive transport. Another great fact to know is diffusion happens everywhere in your body. This means a lot to me because it shows me that diffusions not just something I learn about it’s a part of life and being alive. The last important fact is diffusion happens everywhere. This fact means so much to me because it sums up the world. Without diffusion we couldn’t smell or experience things. Without diffusion we wouldn’t even be able to breathe or be living.


Does the temperature of a liquid affect how fast food coloring will diffuse.


If I put blue food coloring in different liquids and liquid temperatures then I think the blue food coloring will diffuse fastest in the hot liquids. This will happen because the molecules in a hot liquid are moving a lot faster allowing more room for the food coloring to come threw.

My independent variable is food coloring. My dependent variable is liquids and liquid temperature.


1. 1)1 300 ml beaker

2) 1 thermometer

3) Blue food coloring

4) Vinegar

5) Water

6) Ice

7) Timer


1. Get all of your materials.

2. Start with water

3. Heat up 300ml of water to 100 degrees.

4. Put in one drop of food coloring. ( In the middle!)

5. start timer on the stop watch.

6. Every two minutes take pictures of what you see.

7. after ten minutes stop timer and record data.

8. repeat steps 3-7 but with water at 20 degrees and 50 degrees

9. Then start with vinegar

10. Fill 300ml of vinegar to 100 degrees.

11. Repeat steps 4-7

12. Repeat steps 3-7 but with vinegar at 20 and 50 degrees.




My research question was, how fast will blue food coloring diffuse in different liquid temperatures. My hypothesis was correct. I thought the food coloring would diffuse fastest in the hot liquids. The hot liquids were at 100 degrees. Patterns I saw were mainly in the same liquid temperatures. In the cold temperatures it took a long time for them to diffuse. I think the water molecules were shocked because of the cold temperatures and so it took a little longer for the food coloring to diffuse. The hot liquids diffused in less than 10 minutes. I think this happened because the particles in the food coloring were sort of melted and were able to diffuse the fastest. One thing I think messed up my project was having ice in the vinegar. The food coloring would stick to the ice cubes and wouldn’t diffuse. I think maybe I had too many trials. It was really hard to make my table accurate. I will definitely think this through a lot better next time.

It was fun watching the food coloring go into the ice vinegar. It had such abstract ways it moved and was something I had never seen before. The best part of this project was getting to learn more and actually do my experiment. I was really glad we did research. The most challenging part was making my table. I had to many trials and I didn’t know how to fit all of my information in one table. Eventually I figured it out.

While doing this experiment I learned how fun science is and how interesting it is to learn. I discovered that osmosis is not really exactly the same thing as diffusion. It works in different ways. The science concepts that connect to this are osmosis. They work in a team. This science experiment helped me understand diffusion better, because I learned a lot and I finally got to see and experience diffusion and osmosis.

A new question I have about this experiment is if food coloring effects how fast things diffuse. What I would like to investigate next time is if food coloring effects how fast things diffuse. Because it’s a very interesting topic and would be fun to learn more about.


1. Baily, Regina “ What is diffusion?” August 31, 2012. January 7 2014

2. Doherta, Diana “How does osmosis work?” ehow 1999-2014. January 7 2014

3. Huntsburger, John Retired science professor personal interview January 11 2014 The importance of homeostasis GCSE bite size 2014 January 17 2014

4. Narver, Mike, house builder retired biology teacher personal interview January 10 2014

5. “Osmosis and diffusion.” Quizlet.2014.January 7

6. “Passive transport” Biology 4 2013. January7