Steric Interaction of Fluid Membranes in Multilayer Systems

W. Helfrich 1
  • 1 Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, Universite Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France

Abstract

The out-of-plane fluctuations of fluid membranes are sterically hindered in multilayer systems. The repulsive interaction associated with the steric or excluded-volume effect is studied theoretically by two methods. The interaction energy per unit area of membrane is derived as a function of temperature, membrane curvature elasticity and mean membrane spacing; it is inversely proportional to the square of the latter. Steric repulsion is estimated for lecithin bilayers in water. There and in other cases, it may compete with van der Waals attraction.

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A Journal of Physical Sciences: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung A (ZNA) is an international scientific journal which publishes original research papers from all areas of experimental and theoretical physics. In accordance with the name of the journal, which means “Journal for Natural Sciences”, manuscripts submitted to ZNA should have a tangible connection to actual physical phenomena.

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