1. In three previous publications it had been shown that electrolytes influence the rate of diffusion of pure water through a collodion membrane into a solution in three different ways, which can be understood on the assumption of an electrification of the water or the watery phase at the boundary of the membrane; namely,

(a) While the watery phase in contact with collodion is generally positively electrified, it happens that, when the membrane has received a treatment with a protein, the presence of hydrogen ions and of simple cations with a valency of three or above (beyond a certain concentration) causes the watery phase of the double layer at the boundary of membrane and solution to be negatively charged.

(b) When pure water is separated from a solution by a collodion membrane, the initial rate of diffusion of water into a solution is accelerated by the ion with the opposite sign of charge and retarded by the ion with the same sign of charge as that of the water, both effects increasing with the valency of the ion and a second constitutional quantity of the ion which is still to be defined.

(c) The relative influence of the oppositely charged ions, mentioned in (b), is not the same for all concentrations of electrolytes. For lower concentrations the influence of that ion usually prevails which has the opposite sign of charge from that of the watery phase of the double layer; while in higher concentrations the influence of that ion begins to prevail which has the same sign of charge as that of the watery phase of the double layer. For a number of solutions the turning point lies at a molecular concentration of about M/256 or M/512. In concentrations of M/8 or above the influence of the electrical charges of ions mentioned in (b) or (c) seems to become less noticeable or to disappear entirely.

2. It is shown in this paper that in electrical endosmose through a collodion membrane the influence of electrolytes on the rate of transport of liquids is the same as in free osmosis. Since the influence of electrolytes on the rate of transport in electrical endosmose must be ascribed to their influence on the quantity of electrical charge on the unit area of the membrane, we must conclude that the same explanation holds for the influence of electrolytes on the rate of transport of water into a solution through a collodion membrane in the case of free osmosis.

3. We may, therefore, conclude, that when pure water is separated from a solution of an electrolyte by a collodion membrane, the rate of diffusion of water into the solution by free osmosis is accelerated by the ion with the opposite sign of charge as that of the watery phase of the double layer, because this ion increases the quantity of charge on the unit area on the solution side of the membrane; and that the rate of diffusion of water is retarded by the ion with the same sign of charge as that of the watery phase for the reason that this ion diminishes the charge on the solution side of the membrane. When, therefore, the ions of an electrolyte raise the charge on the unit area of the membrane on the solution side above that on the side of pure water, a flow of the oppositely charged liquid must occur through the interstices of the membrane from the side of the water to the side of the solution (positive osmosis). When, however, the ions of an electrolyte lower the charge on the unit area of the solution side of the membrane below that on the pure water side of the membrane, liquid will diffuse from the solution into the pure water (negative osmosis).

4. We must, furthermore, conclude that in lower concentrations of many electrolytes the density of electrification of the double layer increases with an increase in concentration, while in higher concentrations of the same electrolytes it decreases with an increase in concentration. The turning point lies for a number of electrolytes at a molecular concentration of about M/512 or M/256. This explains why in lower concentrations of electrolytes the rate of diffusion of water through a collodion membrane from pure water into solution rises at first rapidly with an increase in concentration while beyond a certain concentration (which in a number of electrolytes is M/512 or M/256) the rate of diffusion of water diminishes with a further increase in concentration.

This content is only available as a PDF.