1. The electrochemical behavior (concentration potential, anomalous osmosis, etc.) of collodion membranes is due to its acidic impurities. These impurities determine the possible charge density of the collodion—aqueous solution interfaces. This (possible) charge density is believed to be identical with the base exchange capacity of the interfaces under consideration.
2. The collodion preparations commercially available at present are too pure to yield membranes of sufficient activity for electrochemical membrane investigations. Crude collodion, a product which is only partially purified, shows considerable electrochemical activity because of its content of acidic impurities.
3. The inactive commercial collodion preparations can readily be activated by oxidation by virtue of the fact that oxidation increases the number of dissociable groups (carboxyl groups) on the collodion.
The oxidation method of activating collodion may be applied to membranes as such as well as to collodion in bulk.
4. The recommended oxidizing agents are sodium and calcium hypochlorite and sodium hypobromite. A further group of effective and recommended activating agents are solutions of strong alkalies. Alkalies cause a complicated decomposition of nitrocellulose with the formation of nitrites (and probably other nitrous compounds). These nitrites act upon the collodion as oxidizing agents, thus causing activation.
5. Detailed descriptions of tested oxidation procedures for highly dried membranes, porous membranes, and bulk collodion are given in the text, the optimum conditions being different in the three cases.
6. Collodion membranes oxidized as such show a much higher electrochemical activity than any previously described. Highly dried membranes after oxidation give concentration potentials which approach the thermodynamically possible maximum more closely than any given in the literature. Porous membranes after oxidation show greatly increased concentration potentials and yield much greater electroosmosis when a current is passed through. These effects are reflected in the enormous magnification of the extent of anomalous osmosis.
7. The behavior of the porous membranes toward nonelectrolytes changes but little on oxidation. The volume of such membranes, as well as their per cent water content (pore space), remains constant within the limits of experimental error. From this observation and studies on the rate of filtration, it is concluded that the geometrical structure of membranes is but little changed on oxidation.
8. Collodion oxidized in bulk likewise yields very active membranes. Dried membranes prepared from activated bulk collodion consistently yield concentration potentials which approach the thermodynamically possible maximum very closely and are appreciably higher than any previously reported. Porous membranes prepared from bulk oxidized collodion show a degree of electrochemical activity surpassing anything described for the most active commercial collodion preparations. However, these membranes are less active than those oxidized as such.
9. Membranes prepared from different collodion preparations which behave fairly uniformly towards nonelectrolytes but very differently towards electrolyte solutions become similar in their behavior towards electrolytes after oxidation.
10. The geometrical structures of membranes prepared from different collodion preparations are essentially identical. The differences in their behavior towards electrolytes are due entirely to the electrochemical factor; i.e., the charge density at the water/collodion interface.
11. Certain general aspects of the foregoing experimental results are discussed briefly.