Penn State researchers develop toilet coating that stops stuff from sticking |

Penn State researchers develop toilet coating that stops stuff from sticking

Frank Carnevale

Researchers say they have created a coating that can make toilets self-cleaning and save water on each flush.

The scientists from Penn State said they have developed a two-step spray that, among other things, can be applied to ceramic toilet bowls.

“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.

The first spray builds an extremely smooth and liquid-repellent foundation. The second spray infuses a thin layer of lubricant around nanoscopic “hairs” to create a super-slippery surface.

“When it dries, the first spray grows molecules that look like little hairs, with a diameter of about 1 million times thinner than a human’s,” said Jing Wang, a doctoral graduate from Wong’s lab.

According to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature Sustainability, with the slippery surface, toilets can effectively clean residue from inside the bowl and flush with only a fraction of the water previously needed.

Researchers also said the surface repels bacteria, particularly ones that spread infectious diseases and unpleasant odors.

“Poop sticking to the toilet is not only unpleasant to users, but it also presents serious health concerns,” Wong said.

The coating should last for about 500 flushes in a conventional toilet.

Frank Carnevale is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Frank via Twitter .

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