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Homework Help: Dielectrics (cell membrane)

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Cell Membranes and Dielectrics Many cells in the body have a cell membrane whose inner and outer surfaces carry opposite charges, just like the plates of a parallel-plate capacitor. Suppose a typical cell membrane has a thickness of 8.0×10−9 , and its inner and outer surfaces carry charge densities of -5.3×10−4 and +5.3×10−4 , respectively. In addition, assume that the material in the cell membrane has a dielectric constant of 5.4.

    Find the magnitude of the electric field within the cell membrane.
    Calculate the potential difference between the inner and outer walls of the membrane.
    2. Relevant equations

    E= 4(pie)kQ(sigma)
    deltaV= E(deltaX)

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I guess I am confussed on where to start...Can I use the first formula? I calculated both V and E using pie and obtained a wrong answer so can someone point me towards the right direction.
  2. jcsd
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