What is water potential?

Water potential is a measure of water’s ability or potential to do work. Doing work involves applying a force strong enough to cause another object, or solution, to be displaced.

Water potential at atmospheric pressure is 0. Oftentimes water potential is analyzed as it relates to movement through cell membranes.

Water Potential Formula

The following equation is used to calculate a water potential.

Ψ = Ψp + Ψs

  • Where Ψ is the water potential
  • Ψp is the pressure potential
  • Ψs is the solute potential

Example Problem

How to calculate water potential?

The following problem is a step-by-step example of how to calculate a water potential.

First, determine the pressure potential. This is the potential to do work due to pressure.

For this example, the value will be 10 for simplification.

Next, determine the solute potential. This is the potential of the solute to do work through the membrane.

In this case, the solute potential is 5.

Finally, calculate the water potential by adding the two values above:

Ψ = Ψp + Ψs

Ψ = 5 + 10

Ψ = 15

FAQ

What is water potential?

Water potential is a measure of water’s ability or potential to do work. Doing work involves applying a force strong enough to cause another object, or solution, to be displaced. Water potential at atmospheric pressure is 0. Oftentimes water potential is analyzed as it relates to movement through cell membranes.

What is a pressure potential?

Pressure potential is the amount of work a solution can produce due to an outward pressure acting on it.

What is a solute potential?

Like a water potential, the solute potential is the ability of the solute to do work through movement.

Related Calculators

Water Potential Calculator

Enter the pressure potential and the solute potential into the calculator to determine the water potential.


water potential calculator
water potential formula