Researchers have developed a new method of lowering toilet water waste and preventing poo buildup—a special coating that purportedly makes faeces slide down a toilet bowl like a child on a greased-up Slip ‘N Slide.
In a paper published in the Nature Sustainability on Monday, Penn State University researchers explained how they developed a sprayable coating that can reduce water consumption by 90 per cent, as well as decrease odours and hinder the spread of germs.
Lead researcher Tak-Sing Wong told the Guardian that he began his quest to develop special lube for toilets four years ago when Cranfield University researchers—who were developing a toilet for developing areas—reached out to him for help because his team was known for creating super-slippery coatings. Since then he and his group have been working on what they call a “liquid entrenched smooth surface” or “Less” for short.
The Less coating starts with a base layer filled with nanohairs, which is then covered with a type of silicone oil that sticks to the nanohairs. The application process takes a few minutes.
The researchers first tested the coating with batches of synthetic poo—with varying consistencies. They dropped the fake faeces from a height of about 16-inches onto a plate held at a 45-degree angle. Then, using coloured dye, they determined how much water was used to wash the plate clean. When the Less coating was placed on the plate, the fake poo washed off with 90 per cent less water than when there was no coating.
For a different test, the team obtained real poo and plopped it onto horizontal panels—some of which were treated with Less coating. Then the plate would swing down, and the researchers observed how easily the poo slid off.
“I was very happy to see how easily the faecal matter slid off our coated surface,” Wong told the Guardian.
Tests suggest that Less coating could withstand up to 500 flushes but needed to be replaced after 50 urinations.
The main purpose of Less coating is to combat water scarcity, but it could also make your life easier and streak-free soon. According to the Guardian, Wong has created a company that will sell the coating.