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Cell membrane model

Page history last edited by Joe Redish 1 year, 8 months ago



In the figure at the left is shown part of the circuit that is used to model the cell membrane of an electrically excitable cell. While the actual model includes variable resistors, let’s analyze the simplest example of this circuit: take the batteries to be identical and ideal and taking the resistors to be identical and Ohmic. The capacitor plates (inside the plastic shell shown) correspond to the inside and outside of the membrane.


Suppose the batteries each are labeled with a voltage V0 and the resistors each have a resistance R. Where asked for currents or voltages express your answers in terms of V0 and R.


A. Note that the batteries are not all connected with the same orientation. When the network reaches a steady state is there any current through the batteries and resistors? Explain briefly why you think so.


B. If you think that there is no current in the batteries and resistors in the steady state, find the voltage drop across each resistor. If you think that there is current, find the current through and voltage drop across each resistor.



C. Is there a voltage difference across the plates of the capacitor? If so, find it. If not, explain why there is none.

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