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Old 23rd September 2010, 06:25 AM   #1
erlando
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Wireless electroosmosis: Is this a scam?

I've come across a company called "Osmoterra" which sells a device that is claimed to be able to dry out basement walls using wireless electroosmosis.

More specifically the claim is that using "low frequency electromagnetism" the water molecules are aligned thus reducing surface tension and allowing gravity (and the negative electrical potential of the earth) to overcome capillary pressure in the wall thereby drying out the wall.

http://osmoterra.com/index.php?optio...=100&Itemid=39

Promotional video here: http://www.osmoterra.co.za/video.htm (the video on the english site is offline)

The needle on my BS-meter is on "Absolutely!". Especially the jump from "this works with wires" to "wireless works with phones so it should work with this" seems like pseudoscientific handwaving. But is it BS os am I just too "close-minded"?
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Old 23rd September 2010, 06:42 AM   #2
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro-osmosis
Not gonna work unless the current is in contact with the wall.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 07:05 AM   #3
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Woo. Somebody is making money off the ignorance of his clients.

Water has no magnetic polarity; or, if it does, then it is insignificant.

Water is not attracted to a magnet; nor does it repel the magnet or block the magnet's field. Test it. Does liquid water jump out of a container to cling to a magnet? If you drop a magnet into a container of liquid water, does the magnet hover over the water's surface? If you drop an iron nail into a container of water, does the nail jump to a magnet lowered into the water?

Of course, I'm applying 9th-grade level Physical Science, but it is science, none the less.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 08:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
Of course, I'm applying 9th-grade level Physical Science, but it is science, none the less.
Quote:
Water is a conductor. It can conduct heat and electricity. Electricity is produced due to the flow of free electrons and electric ions. Water molecule is a polar molecule due to the electronegativity difference of oxygen atom and hydrogen atoms present in it. Electricity can pass through water due to the presence of poles in the water molecule. Moreover, negative and positive partial charges of water molecule help electricity to attract water
from "Why Is Electricity Attracted To Water?"
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Old 23rd September 2010, 12:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Marduk View Post
from "Why Is Electricity Attracted To Water?"
Ach! So they're essentially spraying the wet surface with microwaves?!! (oops)

No woo there; plenty of potential for micro-pockets of water to boil into steam and cause fracturing of the concrete, though. Not to mention the induced heating of any reinforcement rods, piping, or metallic conduits embedded within the concrete -- materials that could expand and contract, thus further weakening the substrate...
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Old 24th September 2010, 02:47 AM   #6
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Don't knock ninth grade physical science. There's some good stuff in there, if you read carefully and have a teacher who likes to do all the experiments.

From ninth grade physical science, water is diamagnetic, and is repelled by a magnetic field. The effect is subtle, as water is not a strong diamagnet, and will not, for example, levitate in the field of a permanent magnet in our gravity, but stronger magnets can and do levitate water, and water containing objects like frogs and mice. On the other hand, a rare earth magnet can push water around enough to be observable, if not dramatic. One demonstration I've seen put a strong neodymium magnet underneath a shallow plastic pan of water, and showed, by means of the light that was refracted, that the water was forming a slight hump over the magnet. Another used a magnet to push a beaker of water sitting on a piece of styrofoam around a pan of water.

For stronger, more visible effects, you'd want to use a stronger diamagnetic material, like bismuth or graphite. Pyrolytic graphite sheets (graphite deposited on a hot surface in an atmosphere of methane, IIRC) is diamagnetic enough to lift its own weight over a neodymium magnet, and in a magnetic gradient that takes some of the weight off, a neodymium magnet will hover over a bismuth block. In theory, it would hover over a pan of water as well, but the magnetic gradient would have to be very very uniform and carefully adjusted.
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Old 24th September 2010, 04:51 AM   #7
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But that is using very strong magnets.

The box I describe is plugged into 230V and uses 300KWh a year. It's claimed to be effective in a 10 meter radius and inbetween walls are not impeding the "signal".

It seems to me that the resulting magnetic field from this box would be very weak.
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Old 24th September 2010, 04:55 AM   #8
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Looks, walks, quacks.
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Old 24th September 2010, 05:12 AM   #9
MRC_Hans
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
But that is using very strong magnets.

The box I describe is plugged into 230V and uses 300KWh a year. It's claimed to be effective in a 10 meter radius and inbetween walls are not impeding the "signal".

It seems to me that the resulting magnetic field from this box would be very weak.
So it draws about 35W. I believe walls are not impeding the signal, however, any wireless signal must be AC, and the water osmosis effect requires DC.

Bunk.

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Old 24th September 2010, 05:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
But that is using very strong magnets.

The box I describe is plugged into 230V and uses 300KWh a year. It's claimed to be effective in a 10 meter radius and inbetween walls are not impeding the "signal".

It seems to me that the resulting magnetic field from this box would be very weak.
For comparison a 100W light bulb on continuously uses 876KWh a year.
(0.1*24*365.25=876.6)

I wonder what the difference is between the magnetic field produced by this device and the magnetic field produced by the wires supplying that 100W bulb?
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Old 25th September 2010, 01:23 AM   #11
Andrew Wiggin
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
But that is using very strong magnets.

The box I describe is plugged into 230V and uses 300KWh a year. It's claimed to be effective in a 10 meter radius and inbetween walls are not impeding the "signal".

It seems to me that the resulting magnetic field from this box would be very weak.
Not defending the quack device, as it is very unlikely to work as its marketing hype claims, for exactly the reason you mention. I'm just pointing out that the place to attack this isn't at the level of basic science.

One of the earlier posters stated that the device must be fraudulent because water doesn't respond to magnetism or electricity, but in fact it does, and much in the way that the marketing hype for this device claims it does. I'd rather see this device labeled as a scam because it is ineffective, not because of the science behind it.

This is similar to the claims of audiophile gizmo manufacturers or all the folks who use the concepts of quantum mechanics to justify homeopathy. Some of the audophile scam devices have actual effects on the signal, as detected by sensitive instruments, but the effects are not detectible by the only instrument that matters, the human ear. They simply don't perform as stated.

Similarly, the fact that homeopathy is demonstratably ineffective at curing disease doesn't falsify quantum mechanics, just because that's part of the hype attached to it by the marketing. Quantum mechanics goes on being true, even when the product marketed with it doesn't do anything worthwhile. This basement drying device may or may not have some small effect on the rate of water flow, perhaps detectible by sensitive lab equipment, and be based on sound science or at least hyped by reference to sound science, but still be fraudulent simply because it doesn't actually meet the claim made for it.

yah. I know its picky.
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Old 25th September 2010, 01:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
For comparison a 100W light bulb on continuously uses 876KWh a year.
(0.1*24*365.25=876.6)

I wonder what the difference is between the magnetic field produced by this device and the magnetic field produced by the wires supplying that 100W bulb?
Most of the output of the electric wires and bulb would be in the form of heat, which coincidentally? has a basement drying effect. 100 watts powering an electromagnet could be a much stronger field. One way to express the power of an electromagnet is in terms of 'ampere turns' and unless house wiring is rather oddly constructed, its making one turn, as a big loop from the power station to your house and back, with perhaps a few more in the lamp itself, if the filament is coiled. A coil with 100 turns, barring concerns of resistance and reactance, would have a field 100 times as strong for the same current flow, and coils can have thousands of turns.
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Old 26th September 2010, 11:16 AM   #13
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Maybe it will remove unwanted facial hair, or cure hemorrhoids.
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Old 26th September 2010, 09:45 PM   #14
Andrew Wiggin
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
Maybe it will remove unwanted facial hair, or cure hemorrhoids.
If facial hair and hemorrhoids are the reason your basement is wet...

If that's the case though, I think you'd have bigger problems than a wet basement.
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Old 26th September 2010, 11:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin View Post
Most of the output of the electric wires and bulb would be in the form of heat, which coincidentally? has a basement drying effect. 100 watts powering an electromagnet could be a much stronger field. One way to express the power of an electromagnet is in terms of 'ampere turns' and unless house wiring is rather oddly constructed, its making one turn, as a big loop from the power station to your house and back, with perhaps a few more in the lamp itself, if the filament is coiled. A coil with 100 turns, barring concerns of resistance and reactance, would have a field 100 times as strong for the same current flow, and coils can have thousands of turns.
You can easily make a pretty strong electromagnet. However, there is no reason to think that it would work as advertized. The electric dehumidification works by sending DC current through the moist building part. There is not any indication that a magnet field would do the same, and absolutely no reason to think that an AC magnet field would do anything at all.

Also, although a 30W device might be made to create a fairly strong magnet field (AC or DC), not only is there no reason to believe it would have any effect as dehumidifier, but it would create various antisocial side effects, like reasing audio and video tapes, magnet strips on credit cards, etc., in its vicinity.

Hans
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