Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation path

Fick's laws of diffusion

Fick's laws of diffusion describe diffusion and can be used to solve for the diffusion coefficient, D. They were derived by Adolf Fick in the year 1855.

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).

Fick's second law predicts how diffusion causes the concentration field to change with time.

Fick's work was inspired by the earlier experiments of Thomas Graham, but which fell short of proposing the fundamental laws for which Fick would become famous. The Fick's law is analogous to the relationships discovered at the same epoch by other eminent scientists: Darcy's law (hydraulic flow), Ohm's law (charge transport), and Fourier's Law (heat transport).

Fick's experiments (modeled on Graham's) dealt with measuring the concentrations and fluxes of salt, diffusing between two reservoirs through tubes of water. It is notable that Fick's work primarily concerned diffusion in fluids, because at the time, diffusion in solids was not considered generally possible. Today, Fick's Laws form the core of our understanding of diffusion in solids, liquids, and gases (in the absence of bulk fluid motion in the latter two cases). When a diffusion process does not follow Fick's laws (which does happen), we refer to such processes as non-Fickian, in that they are exceptions that "prove" the importance of the general rules that Fick outlined in 1855.

Source: Wikipedia

See IHCP's disclaimer on linked sites