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Abstract

The mechanical properties of gelatin films were studied in relation to the effect of water, and compared with those of collagen films. The S-shaped sorption isotherm was separated into an adsorption curve C1 and dissolution curve C2. From the C2 curve, the interaction parameter χ1 of Flory–Huggins' equation was calculated. The χ1 of gelatin were larger than those of collagen at low relative humidities (RH), while they coincided with each other at high RH. It was found that a composite curve was made by shifting stress relaxation curves obtained at different humidities along the log time axis. The shift factor for the formation of the composite curve was analyzed by Fujita–Kishimoto's equation, which was based on the free volume theory. The parameter β, which expressed the extent of the contribution of sorbed water to the increase in the free volume of the system, was 0.05 in the range of C2 from 0 to 0.08 (0–65% RH). This value was much smaller than 0.16 for collagen. The value was 0.16 in the range of C2 higher than 0.08, which was equal to that of the collagen. Dynamic shear modulus G′, loss modulus G″, and tan δ were determined as functions of RH. The gelatin film extended more than 100% at 73% RH under the very small stress of about 107 dyn/cm2. This corresponds to the region where β changes from 0.05 to 0.16, although such a phenomenon was not observed in the collagen film. The wide-angle X-ray pattern of extended gelatin was similar to that of renatured collagen fiber.