Previous measurements have shown that the electrical properties of the squid axon membrane are approximately equivalent to those of a circuit containing a capacity shunted by an inductance and a rectifier in series. Selective ion permeability of a membrane separating two electrolytes may be expected to give rise to the rectification. A quasi-crystalline piezoelectric structure of the membrane is a plausible explanation of the inductance. Some approximate calculations of behavior of an axon with these membrane characteristics have been made. Fair agreement is obtained with the observed constant current subthreshold potential and impedance during the foot of the action potential.
In a simple case a formal analogy is found between the calculated membrane potential and the excitability defined by the two factor formulations of excitation. Several excitation phenomena may then be explained semi-quantitatively by further assuming the excitability proportional to the membrane potential.
Some previous measurements and subthreshold potential and excitability observations are not consistent with the circuit considered and indicate that this circuit is only approximately equivalent to the membrane.