How physics can improve the urinal

Restroom visitors can expect cleaner knees and tidier floors, if they happen to use a new urinal inspired by curves in nature.

The key to making a splashless urinal is ensuring that a person’s pee stream hits the porcelain at a shallow angle no matter where it is aimed, researchers report November 22 at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Indianapolis.  

“For a small enough angle, there is no splash,” says mechanical engineer Zhao Pan of the University of Waterloo in Canada. Pan calls the angle where splashing ceases “the critical angle.” Keeping the angle that a fluid strikes the surface at the critical

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