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Cells are Batteries

Last updated on Wednesday, September 3 2014 by jdmiles

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Section 1: Cells are Batteries

Cells are Batteries.  They generate an electrical potential (voltage) across the cell membrane.  For most cells, this is analogous to the DC current generated by a battery.



The video above shows how the voltage across the membrane of a cell can be measured, using a fish egg as a substitue for a cell.  There is a separation of charge across the membrane of the cell, and when the circuit is completed (by putting the whole setup into water, for example), a voltage can be measured as a deflection on the oscilloscope.

So that's what we mean when we say cells are batteries:  they can produce a measurable electrical voltage.

We call this voltage the membrane potential

In the second section of this chapter, we explore the origin of the cell membrane potential.  



Section 1:  Cells are Batteries

Section 2:  Why Are Cells Batteries?

Section 3:  Meat Wires

Section 4:  The Neuron Action Potential

Section 5:  Muscle Fiber Action Potential

Section 6:  Synapses and the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ) 


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