Dante forgot to include that the inmates of the inner circles of hell had to construct osmometers constantly.
Osmometers are awesome. They really are. They measure osmotic pressure, as I’m sure you all inferred from the title. That is not why I believe osmometers belong in an inner ring of hell. It is because of how they are created that makes them a torture device of untold proportions.
One must take a small piece of dialysis tubing, fit it over a rubber stopper that contains a long glass pipe, fill the tubing with a solution, clip the bottom of the tubing, then flip the whole contraption over and suspend it in a beaker of distilled water. This allows the free water in the beaker to diffuse into the bag of solution, forcing water up the glass pipe. By measuring the height and speed of that increase, you can track the osmotic rate of particular solutions. What that description FAILS to make clear is the following:
1. Dialysis tubing is about as easy to work with as a cranky, unregenerated, sleep-deprived two-year old that’s been given too much sugar. It’s slippery, won’t stay open, won’t fit over the rubber stopper, flops over while you’re filling it, and generally makes a nuisance of itself.
2. The rubber stopper is a joke. One must make blood oaths to dark gods to make sure the tubing actually fits over the stopper (this is nearly a miracle and took me nearly twenty minutes at one point), and then getting it to stay there by some mystical twisting of a rubber band requires the promised sacrifice of your first born.
3. Filling the (floppy) (non-cooperative) (dingity dang) tubing with solution requires three hands: one to pipette, one to keep the glass tube clogged, and one to keep the tubing upright. I currently only possess two. You do the math.
All that to say, it took me about an hour and half to set up a simple experiment. These are the nights that make me question my future. And my intelligence. We’re talking uber basic lab skills, people. Not rocket surgery.
So I biked 4.5 miles indoors and then ate french fries and a fried chicken patty. That soothed my wounded spirit a bit. Not enough. But a bit.