Posted by: ionlife | June 30, 2008

The BASICS of PH and ORP

The basics about pH / ORP alteration in ionized water
Ionization alters water in two significant and measurable ways: pH and ORP. These alterations to water are
what make it very different from other waters you may drink.
pH The pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and is a measurement that provides an indication of the level of
hydrogen in a substance. It is measured by the pH scale. Proper body pH is an important factor in good health. Follow this link to find out more about pH (use info from ) or
this one to find out about body pH and health. (Code info from I have this is a word doc minus pics if you need it )
The other way an ionizer alters the water is in ORP. This stands for Oxidation Reduction Potential (also referred to as “Redox” – it’s the same thing). Most leading water researchers from Asia agree that in ionized water the elevated pH is good, but that ORP more important. Alteration to the OPR is what causes the microclustering,antioxidant and oxygenating effects. ORP is a “potential” energy that is stored and ready to be put to work. It’s not necessarily working, but we know that the energy is there and we can measure it. Another way to look at this potential might be to look at
pressure. If you blow up a balloon, and there is air pressure inside. As long as the balloon is closed, the
pressure remains and can be measured. When released, this potential energy becomes kinetic energy.
In electrical terms, potential energy can be measured. When we use the term “potential” in describing ORP, w e are actually talking about electrical potential as expressed in millivolts. This potential is measured in water with an ORP meter. What you measure is the very slight voltage in water . We are actually measuring the presence of oxidizing or reducing agents by their specific electrical charge, thus Oxidation Reduction “Potential”. High pH water has more “reducing” agents ( -ORP) and low pH water has more oxidizing agents (+ORP). Oxidation is what turns an apple brown after it is cut or causes metal to rust . Rust weakens metal and signifies the deterioration of the apple. The process of oxidation “steals” electrons from the surface being oxidized. When we measure a something’s oxidizing potential, it is expressed in +ORP and measures the concentration of OH+ ions or oxidizing agents.
A “reducing” agent is simply something that inhibits or slows the process of oxidation. The reducing agent does this by “donating” an electron. When we measure a something’s oxidation reduction potential, it is expressed in terms of –ORP and measures the concentration of OH- ions or reducing agents. In its most basic form a reducing agent is an “antioxidant” ~ reducing oxidation. Follow this link to read more detailed info about the science of pH and ORP. (use info from ). The ORP of most tap water in the USA is between +200 to +600mv and so is an oxidizing agent. High pH

ionized water demonstrates a –ORP and so is a redusing agent or “antioxidant” . Most bottled waters are very acidic (low pH) and also have higher ORPs ( over +400mv). (use info from Excel table titled pH of Bottled Waters )
Understanding the crucial variables in Performance
pH and ORP alteration is a highly variable and depends primarily on three factors:
1. The source water and its natural mineral content – water varies widely in this respect
2. The voltage applied to the water during electrolysis
3. The flow rate through the ionizer’s water cell
These variables have a dramatic effect on pH and ORP.
An ionizer works primarily on the mineral content in the water. It is the dissolved mineral content (referred to as TDS) which creates the pathway for the “ionization” (or more correctly electrolysis) to occur. Water without mineral content or TDS, like reverse osmosis or distilled water, will not conduct the current and therefore can not be “ionized”. This first variable is the most crucial to performance. Tap waters vary widely in the dissolved mineral content. The higher the mineral content (“hard er” water) the higher the levels of pH and ORP alteration an ionizer can achieve; the lower the mineral content (“softer water”) the lower levels of pH and ORP alteration. The importance of this variable can no t be emphasized enough.
The heart of an ionizer is the water cell which contains the electrodes. The electrodes are what deliver the
current and creates the “ionization”. We control the voltage conducted through the electrodes and then to the water by selecting the different “Alkaline” settings on an ionizer. The higher the Alkaline setting (or voltage), the more alteration you will achieve in pH and ORP. Effective conductivity is the primary determinant – not electrode size – of effective delivery of the current or voltage into the water needed to create electrolysis. Do not be fooled by the claim some manufacturers make that larger electrodes will necessarily deliver better performance. Generally the larger electrodes have poorer conductivity – so they have to be larger. The flow rate through the machine determines how long the water is actually in contact with the el electrodes receiving the voltage and the effects of electrolysis . If your flow is fast (say you could fill a quart or liter in 15 seconds) then the water is not processing very long and not receiving much alteration. Conversely, with a slow
the flow rate (say the same quart or liter took 60 seconds ) the water is in the chamber in contact with the
electrodes longer and will receive more alteration. You can always achieve higher pH and ORP readings with
reduced flow rates. So controlling the flow is an important variable in performance.
On most ionizers you can only adjust the flow rate by using your faucet or tap. If your faucet is all the way “on” the water will process very fast through the machine. If your faucet is just barely “on” this reduces the flow and the water will process for much longer . With a fast flow rate you may only achieve slight alteration in pH and ORP, slow it down and you will get higher pH and better ORP. Simply put, speed it up, you get a less alteration slow it down and you’ll get more. To illustrate this whole principle lets look at two very different t ap waters and their effect on performance.
Remember the crucial variable is the dissolved mineral content or TDS (total dissolved solids) which is
measured in parts per million. This creates the pathway for the ionization to occur. In Carlsbad, California the
tap water tests at 385 – 501ppm of total dissolved solids . The tap water in Seattle, Washington tests at
approximately 40 – 80ppm. You could test water from an ionizer in Carlsbad at a given setting and flow rate and
you would get a certain result. You could test the exact same ionizer in Seattle without altering the setting or
flow rate and you would get dramatically different results. Is it the ionizer? No. It is the water as the main
variable in performance. There is much less “pathway” in Seattle’s water. To further illustrate variability, you
could alter the voltage or flow rates through the ionizer in either Carlsbad or Seattle and you would get different
results again.
Comparing ORP
Lastly comparing ORP is a tricky business. Stating absolute values is impossible. Anyone who really knows and
understands ionizers/ORP would agree. Anyone who states absolutes in performance proves their ignorance on
the science behind it. Further, pH and ORP are not tied to another. In other words you can measure ORP in two
pH9 waters and get two very different readings. Another factor to consider when comparing ORP is the level of
pH you will drink.
Water with a pH over about pH10 does not taste good to the vast majority of people. Japanese research states
that the ideal range for drinking alkaline water is between pH8.5 and pH 9.5. Given this, testing ORP at those levels is where the real bang for the buck i s; ORP at a pH level one would actually drink . Therefore, the only salient way to compare ORP in ionizers is side-by-side, with the same source water and each machine set to achieve the same drinkable level of pH. If you drink pH9 then the ORP you get at pH9 is the effective ORP in the ionizer. Not some “absolute” or even extraordinarily high ORP.
So understanding performance is like understanding a dance between the three va riables. Understanding thisdance is crucial to making an informed decision when purchasing an ionizer, and also in getting the most out of your ionizer’s performance.


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