In the quest for more efficient water usage and sustainable technology, researchers have designed a 3D printed toilet that promises to revolutionize bathroom hygiene and water conservation. A team led by Yike Li at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China has developed a toilet that boasts an unprecedented level of slipperiness, rendering it virtually impervious to any waste accumulation., which could potentially lead to significant reductions in water consumption for flushing.
Unlike traditional slippery coatings that lose effectiveness over time, the 3D printed toilet remains smooth and slippery even after prolonged use. The researchers achieved this feat by 3D printing a mixture of plastic and hydrophobic sand grains, utilizing laser technology to create a robust and intricate structure. The surface was then coated with a silicone oil that not only lubricated the exterior but also penetrated beneath the surface due to the unique material structure.
The toilet underwent rigorous testing, with various substances thrown into it, including muddy water, milk, yogurt, honey, starch-filled gel, and synthetic feces. Astonishingly, none of these materials adhered to the toilet’s surface. Even after subjecting the toilet to over 1000 rubs with sandpaper, it retained its slippery properties, thanks to the lubricating oil beneath the surface.
This innovation holds immense promise for high-traffic environments such as trains and public bathrooms. By significantly reducing flushing volume, water waste during transportation to processing facilities can be minimized, resulting in cost savings. However, there are challenges ahead; the process must be adapted for full-size toilets and made more cost-effective.
While the toilet’s durability and environmentally friendly lubricant are promising, the integration of the laser manufacturing technique into current toilet production processes could pose a challenge. Despite this, experts suggest that motivated start-up companies might take on the task, capitalizing on their flexibility in supply chain redesign.
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