1. When a watery solution is separated from pure water by a collodion membrane, the initial rate of diffusion of water into the solution is influenced in an entirely different way by solutions of electrolytes and of non-electrolytes. Solutions of non-electrolytes, e.g. sugars, influence the initial rate of diffusion of water through the membrane approximately in direct proportion to their concentration, and this. influence begins to show itself under the conditions of our experiments when the concentration of the sugar solution is above M/64 or M/32. We call this effect of the concentration of the solute on the initial rate of diffusion of water into the solution the gas pressure effect.
2. Solutions of electrolytes show the gas pressure effect upon the initial rate of diffusion also, but it commences at a somewhat higher concentration than M/64; namely, at M/16 or more (according to the nature of the electrolyte).
3. Solutions of electrolytes of a lower concentration than M/16 or M/8 have a specific influence on the initial rate of diffusion of water through a collodion membrane from pure solvent into solution which is not found in the case of the solutions of non-electrolytes and which is due to the fact that the particles of water diffuse in this case through the membrane in an electrified condition, the sign of the charge depending upon the nature of the electrolyte in solution, according to two rules given in a preceding paper.
4. In these lower concentrations the curves representing the influence of the concentration of the electrolyte on the initial rate of diffusion of water into the solution rise at first steeply with an increase in the concentration, until a maximum is reached at a concentration of M/256 or above. A further increase in concentration causes a drop-in the curve and this drop increases with a further increase of concentration until that concentration of the solute is reached in which the gas pressure effect begins to prevail; i.e., above M/16. Within a range of concentrations between M/256 and M/16 or more (according to the nature of the electrolyte) we notice the reverse of what we should expect on the basis of van't Hoff's law; namely, that the attraction of a solution of an electrolyte for water diminishes with an increase in concentration.
5. We wish to make no definite assumption concerning the origin of the electrification of water and concerning the mechanism whereby ions influence the rate of diffusion of water particles through collodion membranes from pure solvent to solution. It will facilitate, however, the presentation of our results if it be permitted to present them in terms of attraction and repulsion of the charged particles of water by the ions. With this reservation we may say that in the lowest concentrations attraction of the electrified water particles by the ions with the opposite charge prevails over the repulsion of the electrified water particles by the ions with the same sign of charge as that of the water; while beyond a certain critical concentration the repelling action of the ion with the same sign of charge as that of the water particles upon the latter increases more rapidly with increasing concentration of the solute than the attractive action of the ion with the opposite charge.
6. It is shown that negative osmosis, i.e. the diminution of the volume of the solution of acids and of alkalies when separated by collodion membranes from pure water, occurs in the same range of concentrations in which the drop in the curves of neutral salts occurs, and that it is due to the same cause; namely, the repulsion of the electrified particles of water by the ion with the same sign of charge as that of the water. This conclusion is supported by the fact that negative osmosis becomes pronounced when the ion with the same sign of charge as that of the electrified particles of water carries more than one charge.