WUHAN, China — It’s something no one wants to discover when they lift the lid of an unfamiliar toilet — a skid mark. Luckily, scientists say they may have a solution to these gross bathroom surprises: a toilet that poop can’t stick to.
Chinese researchers developed a non-stick toilet bowl surface that could make toilet brushes obsolete. The team from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology used 3D printing technology to fabricate what they call an abrasion-resistant super-slippery flush toilet (ARSFT). Eye-catching demonstrations show “dyed synthetic feces” sliding seamlessly down the bowl, without leaving anything for the next user to find.
“Flush toilets waste a significant amount of water every day due to the unavoidable adhesions between human waste and the toilet surfaces,” the team writes in the journal Advanced Engineering Materials. “Super-slippery surfaces can repel complex fluids and various viscoelastic solids, however, are easily broken by mechanical abrasions.”
“Unlike traditional super-slippery surfaces with limited thicknesses which can be easily worn away, the powder-sintered strategy endows the ARSFT not only with a self-supporting 3D complex shape but also with a porous structure that can accommodate considerable lubricants for an abrasion-resistant super-slippery property,” the researchers continue.
“As a result, 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.”
Besides liquids, the team claims that ARSFT exhibits a high resistance to sticky synthetic feces. Even after 1,000 abrasions using sandpaper, the ARSFT continued its record-breaking, super-slippery capability — possibly signaling the end of disgusting skid marks forever.
“The concept of the 3D-printed object with a superior abrasion-resistant slippery ability will improve the development of super-slippery materials and further save water consumption in the human society,” the researchers conclude.
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South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.