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Strange Waters

An assessment of declustered and other such waters claimed to have unusual properties.


V Polywater
V EZ water

V Effect of oxygen on water

V Neowater
V Clustered and 'declustered' water


More recently than polywater, IE (ice formed by electric field forces) crystals (mm ˣ 100 nm diameter) have been proposed to form around ions due to their electric field [124, 125a c e]. It is also proposed that these 'spherically symmetrical crystals' can be broken by shaking to seed further crystal formation, although this seems more likely to cause the loss of water molecules from the surface (peeling) rather than the release of fragments. The ions must be dilute (< 10-5 M) to prevent ions 'interacting' (reducing the electric field gradient) before crystals have time to form. The crystals are proposed to have 20% lower dielectric than water. These IE crystals are now thought to be completely artifactual with the term 'crystals' now being replaced by 'water clusters'. Even with this change, these theories have not been confirmed [125b d] and are not generally accepted and no ice phase is formed above 0 °C below 632 MPa. The presence of extensive hydrogen-bonded clusters in less-than-pure water containing additional hydrophobic solutes, however, is quite reasonable.


Likewise, an 'ice' (presented as pure water that is solid at ambient temperatures and pressures but with no structural information) prepared at room temperature by a substantial sequence of filtration through glass filters [2166], or by other similar methods from the same authors and also published in Pollack's journal, appears to be due to dissolved impurities, that apparently were not subjected to full and proper analyses. [Back to Top to top of page]


Also recently promoted is 'HHO' a material produced from water by electrolysis that is supposedly different of the expected electrolytic mixture. a This process supposedly breaks the (inviolable) laws of thermodynamics and is backed by a paper that is full of scientific and numerical errors [938]. The claims for this material (that is, HHO) should be examined with great care, and are now correctly reported as totally erroneous [938b], although this is disputed [938c]. [Back to Top to top of page]


An interesting development was the sale of 'neowater' (water containing a minute amount of nano-sized, 10-50 nm, particles of barium titanate) for various biotechnological processes. It was suggested that the particles organize the surrounding water and stabilize gaseous nanobubbles (more properly called nanocavities) resulting in the change in the liquid's properties. Scientific support for this was beginning to appear [1129, 1172], when the company ceased trading. [Back to Top to top of page]

Clustered and 'declustered' water

Very recently there has been an explosion of Internet sites and sales outlets concerned with 'declustered' or oxygenated water and its production. Generally, these concern the promotion and sale of relatively expensive water preparations for their (supposed) health benefit. These appear to be related to Lorenzen's 'microclustered' water [164] or Hayashi's 'microwater' [111]. Lorenzen prepared such water by passing steam across a magnetic field (using magnetite), exposing it to light/radiation with a wavelength between 610 nm and 1 mm (preferably monochromatic at 640 nm) and adding materials such as 3 - 4 ppm metasilicate, up to 1% yeast cells and gas under pressure. His patents claim such water may be diluted by between 103 and 1020 times. A similar product (Willards water) also uses silicates and surfactants [193], whereas 'Penta' water uses acoustical cavitation and oxygen saturation [496]. Hayashi prepared his water by electrolysis a using the reduced and oxidized streams for different purposes. Although cluster size can be determined from the shift in the 17O NMR resonance signal in line with its reduction with increasing temperature, in some cases it seems to have been determined by means of changes in the width (at half peak height) of the 17O NMR resonance signal from above 100 Hz to below 100 Hz. Other conditions being equal this width is expected to give a measure of the strength of the clustering as motionally-hindered water has faster relaxation kinetics and hence should give a greater 17O NMR resonance signal width (for example, the width also decreases with increasing temperature). However, these samples are not pure water samples as they have high (supersaturated) gas concentrations and may contain other additives. The widths do not appear to change reproducibly as Hayashi reports a width for impure water of 105 Hz but Lorenzen reports the width for distilled and triple distilled water as higher at 130 Hz and 115 Hz respectively.


Unfortunately, the data reported by Lorenzen and Hayashi is sparse and does not include any statistical data or precise experimental conditions. Also, there does not seem to be sufficient other data reported in the literature concerning the effect of solutes on the width of this resonance or its reproducibility. Other uncontrolled factors, such as pH, will also have a major effect. Independent NMR analysis [1516] fails to confirm any useful correlation with structure. Nor is there any unanimity on what cluster size any reduction in the width might indicate. Other unanswered questions concern (a) whether it is the strength or extent of the hydrogen bonding that is important, (b) if the extent is important, is it the mean number of hydrogen bonds that each water molecule participates in or the mean cluster size of fully satisfied hydrogen-bonded water molecules that is important? (c) if strength is important, is it the mean strength of all the bonds around a water molecule or only the strongest of these? (d) what is the effect of the distribution of hydrogen bond strengths (or extents)? and (e) how long do any effects last? c More importantly, controlled clinical trials are lacking so that all sales patter extolling the health-giving virtue of such water involves the (scientifically irrelevant and basically biased) use of testimonials.


In the light of the increased promotion of 'special' water preparations, it is important to take notice that there are definite and proven health benefits from simply drinking more water (within reason). [Back to Top to top of page]


a   At the electrolytic electrodes, water molecules are oriented, hydrogen bonds are broken and water‘s reactivity is increased. Anodic water (oxidizing, from the positive electrode) is biocidal and acidic and may contain H2O2, ·O2-, ·OH, 1O2, plus HOCl and Cl2 if NaCl is present. Cathodic water (reducing, from the negative electrode) has been used for washing and sanitizing [1277] and may be alkaline and contain H2. Such H2 may form a supersaturated solution and be present in nanobubbles (10-1000 nm diameter nanocavities) stabilized by salts (for example, Na+ and Cl-) present [974]. Extensive electrolysis will also change the isotope ratio which may have an effect [424]. [Back]



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This page was established in 2001 and last updated by Martin Chaplin on 12 July, 2018

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