The application of the ring method to the measurement of solutions of serum and of certain organic compounds has brought forth new facts, mainly the decrease of the surface tension of such solutions in function of time.
1. In serum diluted at such a low concentration as 1:1,000,000 in NaCl, physiological solution, the surface tension of the liquid is lowered by 3 or 4 dynes in 2 hours; at 1:100,000, by about 11 dynes (mean value) in 2 hours, and by 20 dynes in 24 hours; at 1:10,000 by about 13 to 16 dynes in 2 hours.
2. The drop in surface tension is much more rapid in the first 30 minutes and follows generally the law of adsorption in the surface layer in function of the time.
3. Stirring or shaking after the drop causes the surface tension to rise, but generally below its initial value.
4. The same phenomena occur when using sodium oleate, glycocholate, or saponin instead of serum.
5. For every serum, as well as for the substances mentioned above a maximum drop occurs in certain conditions at a given optimum concentration.
6. Not only are the substances which lower the surface tension adsorbed in the surface layer, in the case in which they are present with crystalloids, but also the crystalloids themselves, in contradiction to Gibbs' statement. This is plainly shown by the evaporation of such solutions in watch-glasses which, instead of a small group of sharp, large, well defined crystals at the bottom, leaves a white disc almost as large as the initial free surface itself, due to the liberation of the salt by the surface layer as it crawls down the concave surface of the glass.
7. In these conditions, solutions of serum are characterized by a very peculiar periodic and concentric distribution of the crystals, at a concentration of 1:100 only. The same ring-like aspect is observed with sodium oleate, glycocholate, and saponin, but not at the same concentration, as was to be expected, since serum is a solution in itself.