1. A bilayer strip, cut from a thin layer of cross-linked polyacrylamide gel cast on to cellulose tissue, forms an open circular loop whose ends are close together. Shrinkage of the gel, in response to the osmotic pressure of a non-penetrating solution, causes a proportional separation of the ends of the loop. This is measured with a microscope and micrometer eyepiece. 2. The resulting effective sensitivity is about 30 times that of the Sephadex-bead osmometer (Ogston & Wells, 1970), i.e. of the order of 5Pa, comparable with that of a membrane osmometer. Use of gel up to 70% (w/v) allows the measurement of molecular weights, as low as 1500 in favourable cases, with an accuracy of 1–2%. The useful range of osmotic pressure is up to 5kPa. A single measurement requires 0.5ml of solution. Equilibration is completed in 20–30min. 3. The method is illustrated by measurements on human serum albumin, ovalbumin, cytochrome c, samples of dextrans, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyethylene glycols 6000 and 1000.

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