View Full Version : Magnetic Water Conditioners
19th July 2004, 03:11 PM
Since I'm somewhat ignorant in this field, I thought I'd ask here in the hopes that someone could enlighten me.
Do Magnetic Water Conditioners work? I hear this one on my radio all the time:
Based on my limited knowledge of chemistry (I'm a Comp Eng) I'm pretty sure this is a load of bunk, but can someone verify one way or the other?
20th July 2004, 02:02 AM
I too have limited chemical knowledge. However, the site says:
A magnetic field is created which modulates ions in the water, making the ions inert thus creating soft water.
...The Magnetic Water Conditioner changes the ionic destructive force of the atoms in the water.
I'd suspect that if such a thing were even possible, it would require a huge amount of power. And I doubt that it's possible to make an ion inert (whatever that means) just by waggling it - wouldn't you need to change the number of electrons to change it at all?
But I daresay there are better brains than mine ready to wade in...
20th July 2004, 02:23 AM
These things have been sold and discussed in Denmark for many years. If they work, nobody knows why. It has been tested scientifically with no conclusive evidence, but the effect is definitely not huge. It is claimed that somehow the calcium in the water decides to form small particles instead of sticking to the pipes, and so they get flushed out with the water. the pseudo-scientific crap that is given on that web page is definitely unfounded.
And now for the anecdote:
I have installed such a magnet in my home. I have two places where the water enters the flat: one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. I chose the one in the bathroom. Usually I had to change or clean the filters every second month or so, but after the installation of the magnet, I have only had to do this once in a year. So the effect has been dramatic.
Or has it? In the kitchen, there is no magnet. But here the calcium deposits have also gone down. Could it be that the calcium level in the communal water incidentally changed downwards at the same time as I installed the magnet?
20th July 2004, 03:03 AM
I was reading a paper on the theory of magnetic water treatment just the other day. Quelle coincidence.
The effect is currently not well understood, but there does seem to be a reasonably large literature built up over a fairly long period of time testifying to its effectiveness. The exact nature of the effect seems to be a little vague, however. The main effect is generally:
i) reducing scale deposit or
ii) producing a less tenacious scale
In a series of papers beginning in the late 80s, Dalas and co-workers looked at the following techniques for retarding calcite crystallisation: magnetic fields, ELF electric fields, UV radiation and ultrasonic fields. They found that all treatments had an effect. The mechanism of crystallisation wasn't affected, but the rate constant was, i.e. the speed of the crystal growth, which suggests that some other part of the crystallisation process was being affected (e.g. removal of water molecules or migration processes).
In the paper I read, the authors pointed to other research which showed that particles of calcium carbonate and sulphate formed larger aggregates under the influence of a magnetic field. These larger particles tended to stay in solution rather than adhere to surfaces. They also provided sites for further crystal growth, as opposed to the surface that one would be looking to protect.
The authors suggested that two types of effects could be affecting the dispersion and crystallisation: first, that the magnetic field could be affecting the hydration of ions and solid surfaces; second, there could be Lorentz force effects on the ions and dispersed particles. The Lorentz force acts on an electrically charged particle when its passing through an applied magnetic field.
Which of the two effects would be important would depend on whether one had a static or dynamic treatment regime.
I am somewhat confused by some of the statements on that website, but this is not an area of expertise for me.
20th July 2004, 09:27 AM
Thanks guys. That does make sense, and explains some of their success.
But, what you've explained also raises another concern - one I might bring up to a friend in the Chem department over at the University. If you've changed the properties of the pollutants, it might affect the effectiveness of various purification and filtration systems.
21st July 2004, 03:45 AM
I wouldn't worry about that too much - IF you have done something to polarize the water or whatever, you still haven't changed the size of the particles within the water. It's the size of the particles that gets them caught in the filter, not whether they're magnetic or not (unless, of course, you're talking about that Magnetic Breeze air filter thingie).
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