The Physics of a Toilet

Powerful Essays
The Physics of a Toilet

Almost everyone in America has used, is using at this very moment or will use a flushable, indoor toilet. Their privacy, and in some cases cleanliness, are taken for granted day by day. The basic physics of siphoning, and the right amount of water, makes the toilet operate in our desired fashion. This has been the concept of toilets for over 200 years. Some questions do come to mind when witnessing this event; how does the water and waste get sucked out of the toilet bowl? Why does the water get sucked out in a spinning motion? Does it matter which side of the hemisphere creates a certain trend of spin in the water? These phenomena are more common than one may think, these things happen through a variety of home appliances. I'm going to try to concentrate on the basic physics of the toilet, but first, here's a little bit of toilet history for you.

The oldest toilets that used water to dispose of waste have been discovered on the Mediterranean Island called Crete; these toilets are known to be made around 2000 BC.

During the time frame of the 5th century to the 15th century, disposing of waste into the street was the only way to get rid of the waste. This was extremely dirty and unhealthy. Sir John Harrington developed a flushable water closet for Queen Elizabeth I in 1596. A watchmaker named Alexander Cummings enhanced the design of the toilet in 1775. Making the water trap to stop the flow of foul odors coming back through the pipes. Thomas Crapper then came along in the 1800's and polished up all of the inner workings of the toilet, leading to what is still used today in our toilets.

There are three fundamental mechanisms of the toilet. Without one of these mechanisms working correctly, ...

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...oriolis effect of our wonderful water closets!!

Works Cited

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Physics Central. 23 Apr. 2003. American Physical Society.

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Kirkpatrick, Larry D., Gerald F. Wheeler. Physics A World View. 4th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2001. 273-278.

The Electronic Universe. 23 Apr. 2003. University of Oregon Physics Department. 24 Apr. 2003.


The Skinny On. 23 Apr. 2003. Discovery Communications. 24 Apr. 2003.

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