I wonder which fundamental forces act behind osmosis process? Sum of these forces oppose gravity force, like in this figure: enter image description here

So I wonder what are these forces?

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    $\begingroup$ Short answer: Entropy. $\endgroup$ – Jan Jun 25 '15 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I know, entropy is not a fundamental force. According to this: en.wikipedia.org/?title=Force#Fundamental_forces, there are 4 fundamental forces, while entropy is not one of them. All other forces are compositions of one or more fundamental ones $\endgroup$ – Denis Itskovich Jun 25 '15 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ It's much better answer than "Electomagnetism" $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jun 25 '15 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ If you really want to ask about 4 "fundamental" forces than virtually everything in chemistry is about electromagnetism... $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jun 25 '15 at 21:03

The water molecules move across the membrane due to thermal energy. If concentration of solute on both sides of the membranes is the same, the amount of water crossing the membrane in either direction is same but when the concentration is unequal, the side with more solute particles (higher concentration, that is) attracts the water molecules and thus stopping them from going back. This process goes on until the particles cannot stop more water molecules from going back and equilibrium is achieved.

Answering the question, the physical force that causes osmosis is the one that is responsible for dissolution of the solute in the given solvent which is (as others pointed out) electromagnetic in nature.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is not correct. Osmosis is fundamentally entropically driven (i.e., it results from the statistics of large numbers of particles), and thus does not rely upon interactions between the particles. For instance, if you had a semi-permeable membrane that could distinguish between two different theoretically non-interacting gases, you would be able to generate an osmotic pressure. Electromagnetic interactions can alter osmotic pressure, in the same way that electromagnetic interactions can cause activities to be different from concentrations, but this is a second-order effect. $\endgroup$ – theorist Sep 20 '19 at 17:23

If you dribble a basketball, the force of your hand on the ball, that keeps it bouncing, is not (1) gravity; (2) the weak force; or (3) the strong force. It must be electromagnetic force--the electrons in the molecules of your skin repelling the electrons in the molecules on the surface of the ball. Also, your skin and the ball remain (largely) intact because of the electromagnetic force that hold them together, respectively. Same for osmotic "force". The motions of the solute and solvent molecules are not governed meaningfully by anything other than electromagnetic force.

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