Preventing Urine Splash And Keeping Restrooms Clean
Researchers Randy Hurd and Tadd Truscott are known as the "wizz kids" at Brigham Young Universitys Splash Lab. The Splash Lab, according to its website, "seeks to unravel the physical mechanisms of fluid behaviors."
They have been conducting research into a problem many men experience: urine splash back when using a restroom urinal. While using a urinal, some urine splashes back on clothing and shoes as well as splatters on walls, surrounding partitions, and floors.
While urine is a relatively clean fluid, it is also very acidic when it mixes with water. When it gets on surfaces, it can begin to mar their appearance.
"Further, while still wet, urine draws soils and dust to it, often accumulating in grout areas on floors and walls," says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., a leading manufacturer of waterless urinals. "This can cause the grout to discolor and because grout is porous, become a home for bacteria and other pathogens."
To help determine ways that men can minimize urine splash back, the wizz kids used high-speed photography and image processing. The goal was to determine the effects of urine stream breakup; how different angles affects splash back, and the effects of velocity [the speed] of the stream.
And what did they discover?
• First, urine starts to break up into droplets in the urethra long before it is released into the urinal, which means the splatter process begins as soon as the urine is "out of the gate," so to speak
• Next, they discovered that urinating at a 90-degree angle directly, onto the wall of the urinal, is the big troublemaker. Think of turning on a garden hose and holding it six inches from a wall...the water splashes and splatters everywhere; (Interestingly, the wizz kids found many if not most men do urinate at a 90-degree angle)
• Urinating parallel to the urinal surface - toward the base of the urinal - helps reduce splash back considerably
• Standing close to the urinal also helps minimize splash back.
"This is just the opposite of what many men believe," adds Reichardt. "But the researchers found that the closer you are, the smoother the flow, the less the urine breaks up into droplets."