An interesting development in the comment threads to the "Nanotech Wonder Water" post was the appearance of Miguel Cizin, of DoCoop, makers of Neowater itself. He's doing a good job looking out after his company's name, and I'm glad to have him here.
I've had a chance to look through their patent application, and I've devoted some thought to the claims made for Neowater. I agree that water takes on different properties next to a solid interface, and I'm willing to stipulate that (othewise insoluble) nanoscale particles might be a way to deliver such interfacial properties throughout bulk water. Starting from that, I have some questions and proposals which I hope that Miguel Cizin and DoCoop will have a chance to take a look at. Warning to my non-chemical readers - I'm about to put on my lab coat good and proper:
1. How much of Neowater's characteristics can be explained under the usual framework of colligative properties? That is, by how much is the boiling point of Neowater elevated, and by how much is its freezing point depressed?
2. Similarly, what's its vapor pressure at STP? Does it show a negative deviation from Raoult's Law (as you'd expect from the descriptions in the patent of Neowater's structure), and is this deviation much greater than expected given the low levels of particulate matter contained? The literature on the DoCoop web site, I should note, mentions that Neowater evaporates more slowly than regular water.
3. In the same vein, what's the surface tension of Neowater as compared to the water it's produced from? I could imagine it going either way - if large clusters of water are occupied around the nanoparticles, the surface layer of water may not form in as ordered a fashion, leading to lower surface tension. On the other hand, if Neowater is better thought of as a collection of larger polar "balls" of hydrated particles, perhaps the value could end up higher.
4. What's the conductivity of Neowater as compared to its untreated form? How does it change in the presence of small amounts of electrolytes as compared to regular water?
5. Have the rates of standard nucleophilic displacement reactions and/or cycloadditions been measured in Neowater? The presence or absence of a polar transition state and the resultant effect on reaction rate would make an interesting test of its properties. (Neowater is stated to be a "more hydrophobic" form of the liquid). Which reminds me: have Neowater's dipole moment and dielectric constant been determined?
6. Has deuterated Neowater been prepared? If so, how do its properties differ from protic Neowater as compared to the differences between water and deuterium oxide? If deuterated Neowater is available, it would make for some extremely interesting NMR experiments, since the DoCoop literature makes much of Neowater's properties with respect to biomolecules. I agree that water in cells is hardly comparable to bulk water - after all, as Arthur Kornberg is fond of stating, "cells are gels". One would thus expect to see conformational changes in the NMR spectra of proteins as they're run in d-Neowater. (Readers are invited to submit candidate biolmolecules for such a test, if I get a chance to run it).
There, that's enough physical chemistry for one evening. I look forward to seeing what we can find out, and to extensions of these ideas by the audience.