Work and electric potentials confused

  • #1
Living cells actively pump sodium ions inside the cell to outside the cell. Given that the electric potential is 0.070V higher outside the cell than inside the cell and that the cell membran is 0.09E-6 meters thick, how much work must be done to move one sodium ion from inside the cell to outside the cell.


So far I am lost, does voltage have to negative, but then negative work has to be done
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Signs are a matter of luck :wink:

Apart from that this seems not too difficult. Note that the thickness of the wall makes no difference.
 
  • #3
Doc Al
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Are you positive?

supermenscher said:
So far I am lost, does voltage have to negative, but then negative work has to be done
It requires positive work to move a positive charge from a low to a high potential. (Just like it requires positive work against gravity to lift an object.)

So what's the charge on the sodium ion?
 
  • #5
Doc Al
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supermenscher said:
positive 0.070?
A sodium ion is formed by removing an electron. So the charge of the ion is +e = 1.6 E-19 Coulombs.
 
  • #6
so is the answer 0.070 * 1.6*10^-19 ?
 
  • #7
Doc Al
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supermenscher said:
so is the answer 0.070 * 1.6*10^-19 ?
Yes. Don't forget to use the proper units: work is measured in Joules.
 
  • #9
turin
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kuengb said:
Note that the thickness of the wall makes no difference.
I didn't catch that at first ( :redface: ). I wonder if it was on purpose.
 
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