Electric field effects on membranes

B. A. Pethica, D. G. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The effects of externally applied electric potentials on the properties of a nonconducting multi-component membrane separating two electrolyte solutions are analyzed by thermodynamic methods. Lipmann and Maxwell relations are given for the composition, thickness, and film tensions as functions of applied electric potentials, and equations for the effects of temperature under various sets of constraints are derived. The analysis will give a good approximation for the behavior of bilayer lipid membranes which are not too conducting. Application to published data on these : .membranes is outlined and new experiments are suggested. The analysis also gives a guide to one set of processes at work in biological membranes as electric potentials alter. This set will couple with the nonequilibrium processes such as ion fluxes and transient capacitative effects which occur in biomembranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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