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Scientists in China may have just reinvented the toilet bowl

Published Sep 9th, 2023 9:20PM EDT
Image: Sutichak/Adobe

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Scientists at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, have created a new type of ultra-slippery toilet bowl, making it impossible for anything to stick to it. The new toilet bowl design could eventually replace porcelain and ceramic toilet bowls if they scaled it up.

Humans have relied on porcelain and ceramic for their toilet bowls for centuries. While it seems unlikely we’ll see that material replaced completely anytime soon, if this ultra-slippery toilet bowl that scientists have made takes off, it could give us a new material to rely on.

The ultra-slippering toilet bowl was designed to be a 3D-printed item, and as a video featured by New Scientist shows, almost nothing can stick to the bowl. Even more intriguing, the researchers found that the toilet bowl remained slippery, even after being used multiple times and rubbed down with sandpaper.

One of the biggest advantages to having an ultra-slipper toilet bowl isn’t just its cleanliness. If nothing sticks to the bowl, then that means we could also see reduced water usage for flushing the toilet when using this type of material. 

The researchers call it an abrasion-resistant super-slippery flush toilet (ARSFT), and it is made using materials that easily repel complex fluids and viscoelastic solids. However, these types of materials are usually easily broken by mechanical abrasions, which the researchers point out in a paper published in Advanced Engineering Materials.

The material used to make the ultra-slippery toilet bowl, though, can even stand up to sandpaper and remain just as slippery as it did before, which is a huge accomplishment. While it’s unlikely we’ll see this kind of material replacing our current toilet bowls, it is cool to see what scientists are able to accomplish in this particular area, and it will be interesting to see where they take this from here.

Perhaps we could even see this material being used in lunar toilets sometime in the future.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.