Flow in an Electric Field: Conduction

  • Peter R. Bergethon


To this point, our discussion has focused on the transport of molecules simply by the random process of diffusion. What happens when the system experiences an electric field? This is an extremely important aspect of cellular systems because so many biologically active chemical species, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and ions, carry a net charge and will respond with a net flow of current to the electric fields that are ever present in cellular systems. In the following derivation, the focus will be on the net movement of charge in solutions of inorganic ions because the majority of charge transfer in solution is accounted for by these ions.


Drift Velocity Proton Conduction Infinite Dilution Ionic Cloud Equivalent Conductivity 
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Further Reading


  1. Bockris J. O’M., and Reddy A. K. N. (1970) Modern Electrochemistry, vol. 1. Plenum, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Harned H. S., and Owen B. B. (1950) The Physical Chemistry of Electrolytic Solutions. Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Edsall J. T., and Wyman J (1958) Biophysical Chemistry. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Waldram, J. R. (1985) The Theory of Thermodynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Aqueous Proton Conduction

  1. Conway B. E., Bockris J. O’M., and Linton H. (1956) “Proton conductance and the existence of the H3O ion.” J. Chem Phys. 24: 834–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Conway B. E., and Bockris J. O’M. (1959) “On the theory of proton conductance in water and ice. J. Chem. Phys. 31: 1133–4.Google Scholar
  3. Conway B. E. (1964) Proton solvation and proton transfer processes in solution. In J. O’M. Bockris and B. E. Conway (eds.), Modern Aspects of Electrochemistry, vol. 3. Butterworths, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Bergethon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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