As an aqueous inorganic chemist by training (at least in grad school, although my horizons have expanded quite a bit due to my time in industry), I’ve spent a fair amount of time investigating and understanding the role of water in chemical reactions. When working with transition metals, this usually translates into accounting for aqueous coordination complexes, pH, and solvent effects. However, after perusing the Net these last few years, I now realize I have been woefully ignorant concerning the chemistry of water. I knew water tends to form loose clusters of molecules (due to hydrogen bonding), which accounts for some of its unusual properties, but I wasn’t aware of the immense importance of these clusters to its chemistry.
I am particularly upset that neither my professors nor my chemistry textbooks felt it necessary to cover this important aspect of aqueous chemistry. As a result, I’ve been forced to learn about clustered water on my own by visiting some rather arcane web sites – web sites that for some reason appear to contain a high percentage of viruses, bots, and other spyware. To make it even worse, most of the my information comes from sites which make a profit by selling devices or elixirs based on the unique properties of these water clusters, which means that the scientific basis for these properties are often poorly explained. (These people really need some spell checkers!)
Here is what I’ve been able to deduce from my research:
1. There is a form of clustered water which has very unusual properties. Scientists are generally unaware of this form of water since it disappeared from the earth in the distant past. However, it can still be found naturally in very old glaciers and newborn babies. Yes, we are born with our own supply of the stuff, but we lose it as we age (being replaced by ordinary water) and this leads to disease and the overall decay of our bodies. I can only assume the major pharmaceutical companies are working feverously on this in secret as I type.
2. Clustered water has a different surface tension than normal water. Unfortunately, there is disagreement as to whether it’s higher or lower. Regardless, this difference in surface tension allows it to permeate cell membranes more readily which keeps our cells more hydrated… and healthy… and happy.
3. Clustered water retains a memory of the impurities which were trapped inside these clusters in the past. Although this sounds suspiciously like the failed theory of "water memory" proposed by Jacques Benveniste, this time it’s for real! Unfortunately, this has led to some confusion amongst the makers of clustered water products. Some marketers want you to ingest water clusters which have been exposed to very dilute solutions of vitamins to help replenish the body. Others feel it is the ingestion of clustered water which has been previously exposed to toxins which causes all our problems. These people want to sell you devices for purging your body of bad clusters. The scientific world is still debating this one.
4. Clustered water can impart its properties to ordinary water. So it’s cheaper to buy a concentrated bottle of clustered water and dilute it with ordinary tap water.
5. Changing the bond angle within the water molecules results in a burst of light which affects your DNA. Apparently, this turns out to be a good thing. I’m not quite sure I understand everything that was explained on the web site, but I believe changing the bond angle can be done using sound vibrations. Gregorian chants are particularly good. In any case, we should all be aware of the possible effects of MP3 players on our lab experiments.
6. Clustered water is not to be confused with the fictional compound Ice-Nine, mentioned in Kurt Vonnegut’s book, Cat’s Cradle. Clustered water is real.
If you wish to read more about this fascinating area, visit the Water Cluster Quackery page.
Woohoo! We now have vending machines at work! Our work site now is relevant!