2.5 and 1.25 per cent gelatin have been titrated potentiometrically in the absence of salts and in the presence of two concentrations (0.0750 and 0.0375µ) of NaCl, MgCl2, K2SO4, and MgSO4. The data have been used to calculate values of ± S = vz – (v – 1)z, where vz = v2 – (v2 – v) rx/18.
The maximum and minimum values of S with NaCl were used to calculate the mean distance (rx) between like charges in gelatin. This is found to be 18 Å.u. or over (between acid or basic groups) which agrees with the probable value and the titration index dispersion. Thus the data with NaCl are shown to be normal and to obey the equation found to hold for simple weak electrolytes; namely, pK' – pK = Sa
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where S is related to the valence and distance by the above equations.
Using the NaCl data as a standard the deviations (ΔS) produced by the other salts are calculated and are found to agree quantitatively with the deviations calculated from equations derived for the simple weak electrolytes. This shows that in gelatin, as in the simple electrolytes, the deviations are related to the "apparent valences" (values which are a function of the true valence and the distance between the groups).
The maximum "apparent valences" of gelatin are 2.4 for acid groups (in alkaline solution) and 1.8 for basic groups (in acid solution). These values correspond to the hypothetical condition of zero distance between the groups. They have no physical significance but have a practical utility first as mentioned above, and second in that they may be used in the unmodified Debye-Hückel equation to give the maximum effect of gelatin on the ionic strength. The true effect is probably even lower than these values would indicate.
The data indicate that gelatin is a weak polyvalent ampholyte having distant groups and that the molecule has an arborescent structure with interstices permeated by molecules of the solvent and other solutes. The size and shape probably vary with the pH.