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Chemistry Forums for Students => Physical Chemistry Forum => Topic started by: pat on June 04, 2005, 05:22:29 AM

Title: ions and neural membranes
Post by: pat on June 04, 2005, 05:22:29 AM
A) H2O molecules, being polar, form "clusters" around ions.  How strong and stable are these "clusters" and what are the units and equations that would express this in a Cl- or K+ etc. ion?
B)Neurons, like most cells, have a "phospholipid bilayer membrane" for thier outer skin.  Would the presence of the positive phosphorous ions that make up the part of the membrane which is in contact with the exterior fluid (mostly H2O) result in a membrane surface that is "clustered" so to speak?
C)What effect does the presence of electric charges built into the surface of these membranes have on their dielectric qualities? (and how would one express that in units and formula?")
Title: Re:ions and neural membranes
Post by: BamaPete on June 09, 2005, 12:27:39 PM
For part B of your question:
I'm not completely sure what you mean by "clustered", however water will have a dipole and hydgrogen bonding interaction with the polar end of the cellular membrane.  Just think of the cellular membrane like a soap bubble.
Title: Re:ions and neural membranes
Post by: constant thinker on June 09, 2005, 09:51:35 PM
I have a suggestion for part c. Are nerves are controlled by the movement of calcium ions across a membrane. The charge determines wheather or not the nerve fires. If it is positively charged it may take away some of the negative charged calcium ions by bonding to them. This I imagine wouldn't be good for the neuron. I only know basic processes that occur in our brains but I would imagine something like that would happen.