3D-printed toilet said to dramatically reduce water use

5th of September 2023
3D-printed toilet said to dramatically reduce water use

The amount of water required when flushing a public toilet could be massively reduced with the aid of a new 3D-printed model invented in China.

Devised by Yike Li at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, the toilet is made from a combination of plastic and hydrophobic sand grains which gives it a porous structure.

The lavatory is treated with silicon oil which penetrates into the "pores". This silicon is said to create a non-stick "shield".

Researchers ran a flush test on a small-scale model of the Abrasion-Resistant Super-Slippery Flush Toilet. They subjected the surface to a range of sticky substances including muddy water, milk, yogurt, honey and a starch-filled gel. They then flushed the unit using eight litres of water - and the toilet surface came back clean every time.

Scientists also "stressed" the toilet by deliberately damaging it with a Stanley knife and rubbing it with sandpaper more than 1,000 times. The surface remained intact.

Other "non-stick" toilets have been developed over the years using substances such as Teflon but have historically suffered from a lack of durability. The more such units are used, the less slippery they become which means the coating needs to be replaced in order to remain effective.

While the 3D-printed toilet may prove to be too expensive for household users, its inventors claim that the ARSSFT unit would work well in public facilities where it could save both water and energy.

"The reduced flushing volume would result in less wasted water during transportation to the processing facilities, thereby saving transportation costs," said Li.

 

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