Filtration is a process in which particles are driven through a selectively permeable membrane by hydrostatic pressure, the force exerted on a membrane by water. A coffee filter provides an everyday example. The weight of the water drives water and dissolved matter through the filter, while the filter holds back larger particles (the coffee grounds). In physiology, the most important case of filtration is seen in the blood capillaries, where blood pressure forces fluid through gaps in the capillary wall. This is how water, salts, nutrients, and other solutes are transferred from the bloodstream to the tissue fluid and how the kidneys filter wastes from the blood. Capillaries hold back larger particles such as blood cells and proteins.
Was this article helpful?