Donnan potentials from A-bands and I-bands were measured as a function of sarcomere length in skinned long-tonic muscle fibers of the crayfish. These measurements were made using standard electrophysiological technique. Simultaneously, the relative cross-sectional area of the fibers was determined. Lattice plane spacings and hence unit-cell volumes were determined by low-angle x-ray diffraction. At a sarcomere length at which the myosin filaments and actin filaments nominally do not overlap, measurements of potential, relative cross-sectional area, and unit-cell volume were used in conjunction with Donnan equilibrium theory to calculate the effective linear charge densities along the myosin filament (6.6 X 10(4) e-/mu) and actin filament (6.8 X 10(3) e-/mu). Using these linear charge densities, unit-cell volumes and Donnan equilibrium theory, an algorithm was developed to predict A-band and I-band potentials at any sarcomere length. Over the range of sarcomere lengths investigated, the predicted values coincide with the experimental data. The ability of the model to predict the data demonstrates the applicability of Donnan equilibrium theory to measurements of electrochemical potential from liquid-crystalline systems.