1. When solid blocks of isoelectric gelatin are placed in cold distilled water or dilute buffer of pH 4.7, only those of a gelatin content of more than 10 per cent swell, while those of a lower gelatin content not only do not swell but actually lose water.
2. The final quantity of water lost by blocks of dilute gelatin is the same whether the block is immersed in a large volume of water or whether syneresis has been initiated in the gel through mechanical forces such as shaking, pressure, etc., even in the absence of any outside liquid, thus showing that syneresis is identical with the process of negative swelling of dilute gels when placed in cold water, and may be used as a convenient term for it.
3. Acid- or alkali-containing gels give rise to greater syneresis than isoelectric gels, after the acid or alkali has been removed by dialysis.
4. Salt-containing gels show greater syneresis than salt-free gels of the same pH, after the salt has been washed away.
5. The acid and alkali and also the salt effect on syneresis of gels disappears at a gelatin concentration above 8 per cent.
6. The striking similarity in the behavior of gels with respect to syneresis and of gelatin solutions with respect to viscosity suggests the probability that both are due to the same mechanism, namely the mechanism of hydration of the micellæ in gelatin by means of osmosis as brought about either by diffusible ions, as in the presence of acid or alkali, or by the soluble gelatin present in the micellæ. The greater the pressures that caused swelling of the micellæ while the gelatin was in the sol state, the greater is the loss of water from the gels when the pressures are removed.
7. A quantitative study of the loss of water by dilute gels of various gelatin content shows that the same laws which have been found by Northrop to hold for the swelling of gels of high concentrations apply also to the process of losing water by dilute gels, i.e. to the process of syneresis. The general behavior is well represented by the equations:
See PDF for Equation
See PDF for Equation
where P1 = osmotic pressure of the soluble gelatin in the gel, P2 = stress on the micellæ in the gelatin solution before setting, Ke = bulk modulus of elasticity, Vo = volume of water per gram of dry gelatin at setting and Ve = volume of water per gram of gelatin at equilibrium.