- Splash urinals have been a problem since their invention
- Scientists have come up with a new design that promises to reduce this mess
- It has a curved inner surface inspired by a nautilus shell, and is long and deep.
- They found that this resulted in 50 times less splash back than traditional urinals.
Spray coming back from the urinal is a problem that plagues many men, but it may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the work of some intrepid engineers.
A team from the University of Waterloo has designed a ‘splash-free urinal’ that promises zero urine splash-back regardless of the user’s aim.
The urinal is designed with a special narrow opening and a curved inner surface that prevents droppings from flying out of it.
It started in the American Physical Society Annual meeting of the Department of Fluid Dynamics tomorrow.
In the abstract of their presentation, the team wrote: ‘Our new urinal design will keep bathrooms clean and reduce the labor, water and chemicals needed for periodic cleanings, promoting more sustainable bathroom maintenance.’
Scientists have designed a ‘hidden-free’ urinal that minimizes messes from users of all heights (second from right). They also tested on a traditional urinal (second from left), one inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fontaine’ sculpture (far left), and two other experimental designs (centre and far right).
The Splashless Urinal has a deep, tall shape, and a surface geometry inspired by the smooth, swooping curves of a nautilus shell (pictured).
How do ‘splashless’ urinals work?
Through a series of tests, the researchers found that the angle of urination that results in the least amount of splashing is approximately 30°.
He then designed a new urinal that ensured the urine stream arrived at any flow rate and hit the surface at close to this angle from any direction.
The urinal has a deep, tall shape and a surface geometry inspired by the smooth spiral of a nautilus shell, or snail shell.
According to the scientists, this splash-back problem ‘has been around since the invention of the urinal a century ago’.
To create their anti-splash version, they first set out to find at what angle a stream of urine caused the least splash when it hit a surface, according to new scientist,
To do this, they modeled how a dog pees against a tree, as animals instinctively know to lift their hind legs to get closer to this ‘critical angle’.
He also conducted experiments with a set of test urinals, firing a jet of colored fluid at different speeds and heights to see which made the most messes.
These included a traditional urinal, one inspired by the sculpture ‘Fontaine’ by Marcel Duchamp, and two of his own design.
After each experiment, the team wiped up any splatter with paper towels, and weighed it to determine how much liquid was taken up.
Combining this data with a model of the urinating dog, it was determined that the critical angle resulting in the least splash was approximately 30°.
‘Thus, a surface is designed to always intersect urine flow at an angle equal to or less than the critical angle,’ they wrote.
The researchers conducted tests on a variety of urinals, including one inspired by the sculpture ‘Fontaine’ by Marcel Duchamp (pictured).
This problem of splash messes ‘has been around since the invention of the urinal a century ago,’ according to scientists (stock image)
Based on the findings, the team designed a new urinal that ensures that the urine stream at any flow rate and from any direction will hit its surface at close to this angle.
His design features a deep, long shape, and a surface geometry inspired by the smooth, swooping curves of a Nautilus shell.
The researchers tried the paper towel test with their new urinal, and it resulted in 50 times less splash-back than the traditional one.
They claim that their design works better than standard urinals in unstable settings, such as in the cabins of ships and airplanes.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether or not the team plans to patent their design, or how much it might cost.
Drops containing urine and feces from a flushing toilet remain in the air for up to 20 seconds, study finds
A new study warns that after flushing a toilet, tiny droplets that may contain tiny bits of urine, faeces, vomit and viruses float into the air at mouth level.
This shows that tens of thousands of particles spewed into the air by a flush can rise several feet above the ground.
The droplets were observed to float about five feet (1.5 m) in the air for more than 20 seconds, which the researchers reported poses an inhalation risk.
Small droplets and aerosols are so light that they can float through the air before solidifying on a surface.
Researchers say they can also act as carriers of diseases, and can be sucked in by passers-by and infect them.
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