What is imbibition?

Imbibition is one type of diffusion that features absorption of water by the solids similar to the process of formation of colloids. The absorption of water makes the solids to enhance their volumes. The typical examples for imbibition are water absorption by seeds and water absorption by the dry wood. The wood swells and the pressure that is generated by the swollen wood is utilized by the man in the pre-historic period to break the boulders and rocks. It is also understood that the pressure created due to imbibition is responsible for the seedling development from the soil. The seedlings will not be able to come out into the environment and adjust to it in the absence of the imbibition pressure.
Imbibiton can also be compared with diffusion as the movement of water occurs towards the concentration gradient. The seeds which do not possess water inside will be able to absorb water as there is a water potential gradient between the seed and the water. The proper affinity that exists between the absorbing substance and the liquid that is absorbed will determine the intensity of imbibition.


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