Scientists create super slippery toilet coating to prevent skid marks

Scientists create super slippery toilet coating to prevent skid marks

We've all seen them. Whether you're at work, at a restaurant, visiting a relative or even in your own home - skid marks can put anybody in a bad mood. It's hard to trust anybody in this world when phantom pooers enter a cubicle, neglect the toilet brush, and leave their mark for the next person to see.

Makes. Me. Sick.

(Just for a little bit of health advice: Per, poop that leaves indelible skid marks on the toilet bowl is often a sign there is too much fat in your poo - so maybe consider a change of diet?)

However, it seems that the end is near for skids. Thanks to a group of scientists at Penn State University, the innocent among us will no longer have to hold our breaths as we reach for the toilet brush and bleach and clean away the evidence somebody else left behind.

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That's right, they've created an "ultra-slippery" toilet coating which not only eliminates the chance of somebody leaving their brown calling card, but also will help save huge quantities of water in the process.

"Our team has developed a robust bio-inspired, liquid, sludge- and bacteria-repellent coating that can essentially make a toilet self-cleaning," said Tak-Sing Wong, Wormley Early Career Professor of Engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.

As well as skid marks, there are some things you really don't want to find in your toilet:

According to the scientists at PSU, their new development can cut the amount of water needed to flush away excrement by a huge 90%. In addition, it will also prevent bacteria from building up - in turn helping to reduce lingering odors.

Per the researchers, the average toilet uses around six liters of water to get rid of any waste (and that's not even taking into account any mercyflushes you may have dropped). Collectively, researchers say more than 141 billion liters of water are used every single day just to flush toilets. But this new coating could help cut that figure by 50%.

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Co-developed by Jing Wang, a doctoral graduate from Wong’s lab, the liquid-entrenched smooth surface (or 'LESS' for short) coating is a two-step spray that is applied directly to the ceramic toilet bowl.

Created from molecularly grafted polymers, is the first step is to build up an extremely smooth and liquid-repellent foundation. Wang states: "When it dries, the first spray grows molecules that look like little hairs, with a diameter of about 1,000,000 times thinner than a human's."

Next, a second sprat will infuse a thin layer of lubricant around those nanoscopic "hairs" to create a super-slippery surface. Wang continued: "When we put that coating on a toilet in the lab and dump synthetic fecal matter on it, it (the synthetic fecal matter) just completely slides down and nothing sticks to it (the toilet)."

Learn more about your poop:

Amazingly, this coating can allegedly last for approximately 500 flushes before it needs to be reapplied.

Not only would the spray reduce water waste in the average household, but the team hopes it could help improve areas of the world where water supplies are scarce. While doing so, it could be used to reduce harmful bacteria in waterless toilets.

Wang added: "Poop sticking to the toilet is not only unpleasant to users, but it also presents serious health concerns." But thanks to this coating, toilets can once again be both more appealing and safer for widespread use.