Physics of Toilets

  • Length: 808 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Throughout the ages we have seen timeless inventions to numerous to name. We have seen everythingfrom the inventio of the radio to the engine to the atomic bomb. But there is one invention that goes onunappreciated, even looked down upon. The toilet. The toilet is an amazingly simple invention which,without it, the world would be a very different place. Without toilets there would be waste in our housesas well as in the streets that would have to be manually taken care of. Without the flush toilet there is nopossible way that the world could survive as populated as it is. It is an invention that has become, in ourtime, a necessity.

The Birth of the Flush Toilet

The first successful attempt at a true water flush toilet as see them today came as early as 1862. Known as a "washout", it consisted of a bowl with a hole in the bottom on the front or back. Below this was a p-trap filled with water in order to prevent gas escape.

Such wonderful devices became very popular over to the outhouses and earth closets (portable outhouses). They were much liked, though known to often flush incompletely.

An improvewment was made on the "washout" when the bowl was combined as one with the p-trap. This was known as a "washdown". Though it was an improvement, neither the washout nor the washdown were known for aconsistent complete flush.

Nearing the end of the centruy, sanitaryware manufacturers discovered that by diverting some of the water from tank pipe into the bowl acting almost like a jet flush. It was also learned that if the shape of the p-trap exit were changed it would act almost as a siphon sucking everything from the bowl.

Thus the modern flush toilet was born. Though people often credit Thomas Crapper for the invention of the flush toilet, he was in actuality only the owner of one of the first largest toilet manufacturers. It was in fact a collection of ideas of many people from Leonardo DaVinci to John Harrington to Alexander Cumming and on through history.

The Basic Concept Behind the Flushing Toilet

Flushing a toilet is the perfect example of basic physics. A toilet is little more than a storage tank of potential energy. The tank on the back of every toilet, as most people know, is filled with water.

When the flushing lever is pressed all of the stored water in the tank is suddenly released through a hole in the bottom of the tank.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Physics of Toilets." 21 Jun 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Physics of a Toilet - 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....   [tags: Physics Toilet Technology Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
1532 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Mirrors of Classic Physics - The Mirrors of Classic Physics Plenty of conceptions of mirrors are not so different from models in middle school physics. The mirror is a line dividing the ‘real’ from the ‘virtual’, and the image is the same on both sides. It is a plane in three-dimensional space, a slash in textual space, and a boundary to fluid spaces. In physics class, rays of light go from each point of the image and bounce off the mirror in such a way that they seem to have come from the virtual object. These are not the only mirrors....   [tags: Physics Science Self Identification Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
4852 words
(13.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Physics of the Arc Essay - ABSTRACT Several researchers have devoted efforts on studying physics of arc and descriptive models are used to explain many arc welding related phenomena. However, due to the subject complexity, doubts still emerge about the mechanisms of some phenomena related to the arc. For instance, the description about electromagnetic interactions with the arc, which governs the arc trajectory and lead to plasma jet and arc blow formation, seems to be yet controversial. Thus, the present study aimed a better understanding of these phenomena....   [tags: Physics ]
:: 7 Works Cited
1244 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Physics of Fishing Essay - The Physics of Fishing The use of a boat while fishing and some of the physics applicable to boating will be included in exploring the various ways physics applies to the sport of fishing. Other topics will include the fishing rod, fishing lure, casting, and the fish itself. The boat floats on the water according to Archimedes Principle which states an immersed object is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. The force applied downwards by earth’s gravity coupled with the upward force of buoyancy allows the boat to float....   [tags: Physics ]
:: 5 Works Cited
871 words
(2.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on The Physics of Roller Coaster - i: Introduction You apprehensively walk up the iron steps and onto the platform. You’re reluctant to go any further, but your friend eggs you on, saying, “It’s not that fast.” You step into the seat and pull the harness down over you. No, this isn’t the latest, greatest technological frontier. It’s a roller coaster. Since 1804 when the first wheeled roller coaster- called “Les Montagnes Russes”- was constructed in Paris, France, roller coasters have been a staple of adventure and fantasy among children and children-at-heart....   [tags: Physics] 1556 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about The Physics of Roller Coasters - A roller coaster is a thrill ride found in amusement and theme parks. Their history dates back to the 16th century. It all started in Russia, with long, steep wooden slides covered in ice. The idea then traveled to France. Since the warmer climate melted the ice, waxed slides were created instead, eventually adding wheels to the system. The first roller coaster in which the train was attached to the track was in France in 1817, the Russess a Belleville. The first attempt at a loop-the loop was also made in France in the 1850s....   [tags: Physics] 866 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Applications of Physics For Different Industries Essay example - INTRODUCTION Physics attempts to describe the fundamental nature of the universe and how it works, always striving for the simplest explanations common to the most diverse behaviour. For example, physics explains why rainbows have colours, what keeps a satellite in orbit, and what atoms and nuclei are made of. The goal of physics is to explain as many things as possible using as few laws as possible, revealing nature's underlying simplicity and beauty. Physics has been applied in many industrial fields, which include the air industry, construction industry, automobile industry, manufacturing industry and many others....   [tags: Physics] 1954 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Physics of Car Collisions Essay - Basic Concepts Issac Newton was the first to state the concepts that are necessary to understanding the physics of collisions. His three laws are used again and again in all the fields of physics: Newton's 1st Law In the absence of external forces, an object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion with a constant velocity. This law can be best observed in space, far from the gravity of a star or planet, where there is no friction or air resistance. If, in the middle of deep space, you give a rock a little push, it will continue with the direction and velocity you gave it forever....   [tags: Physics] 2442 words
(7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Physics Behind Remote Sensing Essay - Remote Sensing is the science of acquiring, processing and interpreting images that record the interaction between the electromagnetic energy and matter (Sabins, 1997). Remote sensing offers extensive applications in almost every area of science from monitoring forest fires to geologic mapping . Although many aspects of remote sensing are complex and difficult to understand the basic theory behind remote sensing is simple physics. There are four major stages of remote sensing. The first stage is the source of energy, usually the sun, which sends energy to a target....   [tags: Physics] 1142 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Physics of Aristotle Essay examples - The great Greek thinker Aristotle was born in 384 B.C. in Stagirus, a city in ancient Macedonia in northern Greece. At the age of eighteen Aristotle went to Athens to begin his studies at Plato's Academy. He stayed and studied at the Academy for nineteen years and in that time became both a teacher and an independent researcher. After Plato's death in 347 B.C. Aristotle spent twelve years traveling and living in various places around the Aegean Sea. It was during this time that Aristotle was asked by Philip of Macedon to be a private tutor to his son, Alexander....   [tags: physics aristotle] 1385 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches

The water is guided through same angled holes in the top of the bowl in order to create a whirlpool effect. The bowl of the toilet is filled very quickly. The energy at this time is all converted into kinetic energy.

From here the process is basically repeated, though this time it is of more importance. The bowl of the toilet has built into its bottom a pipe know in the plumbing world as a p-trap. This pipe goes straight down from the bowl curves back up behind itself, and bends down again. When the bowl is quickly filled with enough water, there is enough potentail energy and momentum in the bowl to push some of the water through the p-trap. This p-trap then causes a siphon on the other side which then sucks the rest of the water and anything else from the bowl.

The flushing toilet system is quite a simple system when it comes to physics. As was talked of before, the tank on the back of most toilets is filled with water. This stored water has a potential energy of

PE = mgh

where m=mass of the water, g=the accelleeration due to gravity, and h=the water's height above ground.

Once this water is released it is converted from potential energy to kinetic energy.

As well, when the water is rushing into the bowl it has a total momentum of all of the combined momentums that separately rush into the bowl. The basic equation for this is


where P = momentum, m = mass, and v = velocity

This momentum of the rushing water creates enough momentum in the still water of the bowl to begin its movement through the p-trap.

Once the water has enough energy to move over the last curve of the p-trap it is pulled down (or drains down) the rest of the drain by the pull of gravity (once again PE converted to KE). Once it is flowing fast enough trough the last pipe it begins a pulling motion on the rest of the water still in the bowl, due to its larger potential energy past the p-trap.

This is known as a siphon which, due to the tensile strength of water, creates its own vacuum by pulling itself through the p-trap, sucking everything left in the bowl out through the p-trap and away.

Return to