An organic potassium salt, KG, passes from an aqueous phase, A, through a non-aqueous layer, B, into a watery solution, C. In C it reacts with CO2 to form KHCO3. The ionic activity product (K) (G) in C is thus kept at such a low level that KG continues to diffuse into C after the concentration of potassium becomes greater in C than in A. Hence potassium accumulates in C, the osmotic pressure rises, and water goes in. A steady state is eventually reached in which potassium and water enter C in a constant ratio.
The rate of entrance of potassium (with no water penetrating into C) may fall off in a manner approximately exponential. But water enters and may produce an exponential decrease in concentration. This suggests that the kinetics may be treated like that of two consecutive monomolecular reactions. Calculations made on this basis agree very well with the observed values.
The rate of penetration appears to be proportional to the concentration gradient of KG in the non-aqueous layer and in consequence depends upon the partition coefficients which determine this gradient.
Exchange of ions (passing as such through the non-aqueous layer) does not seem to play an important rôle in the entrance of potassium.
The kinetics of the model may be similar to that of living cells.