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To clarify the effects of strong magnetic fields on biological membranes, changes in the capacitance of a black membrane, which is an artificially formed lipid bilayer membrane, were observed under strong magnetic fields up to 8 T. The effects of dc electric fields on a black membrane were also investigated. The membrane was suspended across a 0.8 mm diam hole in a teflon vessel immersed in a phosphate buffer solution. The capacitance of the membranes was increased through the application of magnetic fields perpendicular to the membranes. When a 4 T magnetic field was applied to the membrane, the capacitance change reached 96%. The capacitance of the membranes varied according to the size of the outer vessel in which the teflon vessel was placed. It is thought that the changes in the capacitance of the membrane were caused by the difference between the hydrostatic pressure on the outer and the inner sides of the teflon vessel. This difference in hydrostatic pressure was due to changes in the surface of the solution caused by the effect of a magnetic-field gradient on the solution. No effects except those due to mechanical deformation due to changes in hydrostatic pressure were observed on the lipid bilayer membrane from static magnetic fields up to 8 T. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.