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Hydration Forces Between Lipid Bilayers: A Theoretical Overview and a Look on Methods Exploring Dehydration

  • Helge PfeifferEmail author
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 71)

Abstract

Although, many biological systems fulfil their functions under the condition of excess hydration, the behaviour of bound water as well as the processes accompanying dehydration are nevertheless important to investigate. Dehydration can be a result of applied mechanical pressure, lowered humidity or cryogenic conditions. The effort required to dehydrate a lipid membrane at relatively low degree of hydration can be described by a disjoining pressure which is called hydration pressure or hydration force. This force is short-ranging (a few nm) and is usually considered to be independent of other surface forces, such as ionic or undulation forces. Different theories were developed to explain hydration forces that are usually not consistent with each other and which are also partially in conflict with experimental or numerical data.

Over the last decades it has been more and more realised that one experimental method alone is not capable of providing much new insight into the world of such hydration forces. Therefore, research requires the comparison of results obtained from the different methods. This chapter thus deals with an overview on the theory of hydration forces, ranging from polarisation theory to protrusion forces, and presents a selection of experimental techniques appropriate for their characterisation, such as X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy and even calorimetry.

Keywords

Hydration forces Controlled hydration Osmotic stress Polarization Protrusion Sorption Percolation Plasticizer 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM)University of Leuven (KU Leuven)LeuvenBelgium

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