A lot of crap comes out of China these days, but now we find that an innovative new device for getting rid of crap has also arisen over there. Coming soon, to a bathroom near you, the Super-Slippery-Toilet!
Poop that clings to the toilet bowl is not only unpleasant for bathroom visitors and cleaners alike, it actually wastes a significant amount of water as more flushes are required to dislodge the stuff.
It was this problem that the scientists wanted to tackle by making a non-stick toilet bowl. They used a mixture of plastic and hydrophobic sand grains for their material, fused together with laser-based 3D printing techniques, in a design that was around a tenth the size of a standard toilet bowl.
The abrasion-resistant super-slippery flush toilet, or ARSFT, was shown to repel synthetic feces, as well as multiple substances that the scientists tested. Nothing was able to get a grip on the surface, and everything slid straight down, much like the slippery pitcher plants that inspired the toilet design.
“The as-prepared ARSFT remains clean after contacting with various liquids such as milk, yogurt, highly sticky honey, and starch gel mixed congee, demonstrating excellent repellence to complex fluids,” write the researchers in their published paper.
Well, that’s… interesting.
The issue to be solved by this, of course, is water usage. If there’s one thing we have plenty of here in the Great Land, it’s water, but other places aren’t so fortunate. I have a buddy that lives in Arizona, and he is known to wax eloquent about the lack of rain and snow there (especially as compared to our own Alaska, where this year we have seen rather more rain that suits us). But there are a lot of human settlements and even major cities in places where water isn’t exactly abundant; Las Vegas, or Phoenix, or Los Angeles could all profit from the implementation of this kind of tech.
They key for this, as for all new technologies, will be cost. How much will the new slippery potties cost? How soon will the economics of scale kick in to reduce the prices still more? What’s the break-even point on one of these for, say, a family of four?
At this point the super-slip potty is a neat thing, but at the end of the day just a curiosity. Unless the economic questions are answered, that’s all it will remain.