Scientists may have found an answer to a unique issue people who can pee standing up face daily. After extensive research, scientists have found a urinal toilet design they say eliminates splashing and mess — you know, when you’re peeing and all of the sudden your pants have caught some strays, too. Not only would this mean a lot less gross for many people, but it also would make urinals more accessible for people of different heights. Here’s what you need to know.
According to New Scientist, a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, were determined to find a splatter-free urinal. To find the solution to the splash problem, the research team designed two uniquely shaped urinals and pitted them against a standard design urinal in a series of splash tests. But how did these researchers find their urine-soaked calling?
“The idea originated exactly where you think it did,” fluid physicist and lead researcher Zhao Pan, Ph.D., told New Scientist. “I think most of us have been a little inattentive at our post and looked down to find we were wearing speckled pants. Nobody likes having pee everywhere, so why not just create a urinal where splatter is extremely unlikely?”
To measure the amount of spatter, the research team directed a jet of water into the urinals, which were made of dense foam covered in epoxy. They varied the speed and direction of the jet to mimic different heights of peeing people.
Following each splatter test, the team wiped the urinals with paper towels, and then compared the mass of the wet towels to the mass of unused dry towels. They used the difference in mass to determine how much water was absorbed while wiping up the water. The heavier the weight of the wet towels, the more splash back the design produced.
Along with these tests and previously collected data on dog urination, the researchers found the magic urinal angle that would reduce the most “splash back” for the average-sized human. That magic angle, according to their data and the laws of physics, is 30 degrees.
The researchers found that typical urinals in public bathrooms aren’t optimized to reduce splash back. Their data shows that the standard design produces up to 50 times more splash back than their optimized urinal design. In comparison, their elongated, deeper design — which they’ve coined the “Nauti-Loo” — allows most people of varying heights to achieve the magic 30-degree angle.
Pan’s graduate student, Kaveeshan Thurairajah, presented the research results during November’s American Physical Society meeting on fluid dynamics in Indianapolis.
The newly designed urinal has the potential to save on cleaning costs for businesses and make restrooms far more sanitary. Pan told New Scientist that the team hasn’t determined how much it would cost to mass-produce the updated designs, so for now, a magic urinal is just that — magic. Who knows if it will ever become reality...