126 Some basic concepts about the chemistry of water - explained in very simple terms - and is intended for curious minds who wish to better understand the science behind water ionization at the molecular level. The structure of atoms and molecules. An atom consists of positively charged protons, electrically neutral neutrons and negatively charged electrons. At the centre of the atom, neutrons and protons stay together to form the atom's core or nucleus. Electrons revolve around the atom's core in three-dimensional orbits or shells. Each of these molecular orbits needs a certain number of electrons to be stable. The inner orbit closest to the core must contain 2 electrons to be stable. The second orbit must contain 8 electrons to be stable. Each subsequent orbit, for atoms that contain more than 10 protons and electrons, also requires a pre-defined number of electrons to be stable. But apart from inert gases such as helium, neon and argon, the outermost orbit of most atoms is missing one or more electrons to be stable. In order to reach a state of stability, atoms bond together to form molecules by sharing their valence electrons, or electrons that make up the outermost shell.
sharing can be achieved through covalent bonding as described below. Covalent bonding of a water molecule Covalent bonding is a form of chemical bonding between two non-metallic atoms, such as hydrogen and oxygen, which is characterized by the sharing of pairs of electrons between two or more atoms. For stabilization, they share their valence electrons with other atoms. A water molecule is an example of a molecule created through covalent bonding. Water is made up of one oxygen atom and 2 hydrogen atoms, hence the chemical symbol H2O. A hydrogen atom is made up of 1 proton at its core and 1 electron that revolves around the core in a three-dimensional orbit. An oxygen atom is made up of 8 protons and 8 neutrons at its core and 8 electrons that revolve around the core in 2 separate three-dimensional orbits. The inner orbit contains 2 electrons whereas the outer orbit contains 6 electrons. However, both the hydrogen atom and the oxygen atom are not stable when they are alone. In order to be stable, the hydrogen atom must contain 2 electrons in its shell, and the oxygen atom must contain 8 electrons in its outer shell.
119 It would be hard to improve the healthfulness or cleaning power of water without adding any chemicals or supplements to it. But companies are claiming to do just that by "ionizing" water. Enagic USA's Kangen Water Companies are selling machines that put drinking water through an "ionization" process. According to the companies, the process, also called "electrolysis," is accomplished using negatively and positively charged electrodes. In the process, water atoms give electrons to the electrodes or receive them, according to a graphic on Chanson Water USA Inc.'s website. The result is a chemical reaction that results in water becoming more acid or alkaline. Tap water typically has a pH of around 7, or neutral; alkaline water has a pH of more than 7; acidic water, less than 7. Companies say alkaline water has a variety of benefits, ranging from giving you energy to counteracting unhealthy effects of acidic foods you eat.
Some scientists, however, say there aren't any good studies supporting the ionized-water companies' marketing claims. Alkaline Water Machines, long sold internationally, have been generating increased interest in the U.S. during the past couple of years, says Pauli Undesser, director of regulatory and technical affairs at the Water Quality Association, a nonprofit trade group for the water-treatment industry. Earth Trade Water Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., posts testimonials from professional athletes who say its ionized alkaline water boosts their performances by providing better hydration and aiding "energy" and "focus." A Laguna Hills, Calif., unit of Chanson Taiwan LLC, says on its website that its ionized water has smaller clusters of water molecules than ordinary water and these "microclusters" are better able to "penetrate into more places in the body." In a marketing brochure, Enagic USA Inc., a Los Angeles unit of Japan's Enagic Co., says its "Healthy Kangen Water"—which has a pH of 8.5 to 9.5—"helps your body balance the acidic effects" of eating foods such as meat and eggs. Enagic's Leveluk SD501 model, which sells for $3,980, uses seven electrodes. Enagic also says Kangen water tastes better with "superior mouth-feel." In an informal blind taste test at a local spa offering Kangen water, I found the Kangen water tasted soft and velvety, but with a mineral aftertaste, compared with ordinary tap water. The machines, which typically range from $1,000 to $6,000, are generally attached to a faucet, but some models go under the sink. The alkaline water, which the companies say is ideal for drinking and cooking, comes out of one of the machines' spigots, while acid water, which can be used for cleaning, comes out of another. The degree of alkalinity is often adjustable. The machines have a built-in filter, which filters impurities just like any other water filter.