Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 September 2010
An electrostatic model is developed for osmotic flow across a layer consisting of identical circular cylinders with a fixed surface charge, aligned parallel to each other so as to form an ordered hexagonal arrangement. The expression of the osmotic reflection coefficient is derived for spherical solutes with a fixed surface charge suspended in an electrolyte, based on low-Reynolds-number hydrodynamics and a continuum, point-charge description of the electric double layers. The repulsive electrostatic interaction between the surface charges with the same sign on the solute and the cylinders is shown to increase the exclusion region of solute from the cylinder surface, which enhances the osmotic flow. Applying the present model to the study of osmotic flow across the endothelial surface glycocalyx of capillary walls has revealed that this electrostatic model could account well for the reflection coefficients measured for charged macromolecules, such as albumin, in the physiological range of charge density and ion concentration.