Hexagonal water debunked! What Chemistry Has to Say

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I’ve seen these hexagonal water stations hanging around near Asian supermarkets. They claim to filter or process water into “hexagonal” clusters of 6 water molecules naturally found in snow (or so they claim), which they proceed to tout for physiological benefits. The main claims are summarized as:

  1. Hexagonal water is composed of six individual molecules of water, held together by common hydrogen bonds
  2. Biological organisms prefer the six-sided (hexagonal) ring-structure, found naturally in snow water
  3. The percentage of hexagonal units appears to depend on a number of factors, including toxin levels, mineral content, motion, and energetic influences
  4. Most tap water and bottled water is composed of large water conglomerates that are too big to move freely into the cells. It must be re-structured within the body to penetrate the cells
  5. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) has the ability to measure molecular size and has been recently employed to determine the structure of the water inside the body
  6. Far infrared energy, magnetic fields, vortices and turbulence … (are used) to create an oxygen-rich, alkaline, energized and uniquely structured Hexagonal Water
  7. Hexagonal water is associated with aging
  8. this kind of water is found in healing springs, such as Lourdes water
Snow can crystallize into an ice lattice seeded by 6-molecule "nucleus"
Snow can crystallize into an ice lattice seeded by 6-molecule “nucleus”

Some of their claims are inherently nonsensical.

NMR, especially proton NMR or C13 NMR, is a tool organic chemists use to observe how enantiotropic hydrogen atoms in a molecule (hydrogen atoms oriented differently in 3D space) exhibit different nuclear spin. In my experiences, NMR is imprecise and limited; sometimes I feel interpreting the NMR reading is artistic at best. Turns out NMR can’t distinguish between water, urine, and impure water. It’s doubtful hexagonal water doesn’t follow suit.

Claim 6 has some truth: infrared radiation, turbulence, and magnetism can increase the internal energy of water, but so can a microwave or stove. Internal energy includes the thermal energies, so “energized” water can be thought as water at a higher temperature. This is actually in contrast with Claim 1: higher temperatures break already transient hydrogen bonds (typically broken on the scale of femtoseconds, one millionth of one billionth of a second) more readily.

 

A water vortex

A water vortex

Also it’s puzzling how energizing water with “far infrared energy, magnetic fields, vortices and turbulence” can alkalize it. Increasing the water’s internal energy can in theory further ionize the water, as the autoionization of water to form hydronium and hydroxide ions is endothermic. Le Chatelier’s principle states that elevated temperatures favor the products of an endothermic process, so raising the temperature will increase the concentration of basic/alkaline hydroxide ions. However, doing so forms an equal number of acidic hydronium ions, leaving the water neutral.

So there’s a lot of established chemistry that contests the claims hexagonal water makes, but should you still invest in a filter? Personally, I think the hydro-vortex generator makes for a really cool (but expensive) pitcher.

Source 1, 2, 3, 4

Supeding

Pastry Chef (https://butterhub.org), software engineer (http://jamesding.org), and fitness enthusiast.

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