3D-Printed Toilet Revolutionizes Hygiene with Unstainable Surface

3d printed toilet revolutionizes hygiene with unstainable surface.jpg Technology

Imagine a world where the common toilet, a device notorious for its water consumption, could be transformed into an eco-friendly innovation. This is no longer a pipe dream, courtesy of Yike Li and his team at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. They have developed a 3D-printed toilet so slippery that nothing sticks to it, even after heavy use. This groundbreaking technology could significantly reduce the amount of water used for flushing, marking a crucial step towards sustainable sanitation.

While there are other slippery toilet surfaces such as Teflon-coated bowls, they tend to lose their slipperiness with use, requiring frequent replacements or re-coatings. However, the 3D-printed toilet developed by Li’s team is different. Made from a mixture of plastic and hydrophobic sand grains fused together by a laser, this model remains extraordinarily slippery despite continuous use and abrasive testing. This sustainable sanitation solution promises not just water conservation, but also a potential reduction in maintenance costs.

Innovative 3D-Printed Toilet Could Dramatically Cut Water Usage

In an age where water conservation is increasingly important, a group of scientists from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, have developed a 3D-printed toilet that is so slippery virtually nothing can stick to it, even after heavy usage. This innovation could significantly reduce the amount of water used for flushing, offering potential environmental and cost-saving benefits.

A New Age of Slippery Surfaces

Teflon-coated bowls and other slippery toilet surfaces are not novel, but they all have a common problem — lack of durability. Over time and with use, these surfaces lose their slipperiness, necessitating replacement or re-coating. Yike Li and his colleagues have developed a solution to this issue, creating a toilet surface that remains incredibly slippery, even in the face of abrasion.

The team created a scaled-down model of the toilet by 3D printing a mixture of plastic and hydrophobic sand grains. They then used a laser to fuse the particles together, creating a complex structure. The surface was then lubricated with a silicon oil, which penetrated below the surface due to the material’s unique structure.

Extensive Testing Proves Durability

To test their creation, the researchers subjected the toilet to a battery of substances, including muddy water, milk, yogurt, honey, starch-filled gel, and synthetic feces. The results were impressive — not a single substance adhered to the surface. Furthermore, the toilet retained its slipperiness even after being rubbed with sandpaper over 1000 times. This is due to the lubricant oil residing beneath the rubbed-away surface, according to Li.

Future Implications and Challenges

The 3D-printed toilet has great potential, particularly in high-use settings such as trains and public bathrooms. "The reduced flushing volume would result in less wasted water during transportation to the processing facilities, thereby saving transportation costs," says Li. However, before this innovation can be widely adopted, the process needs to be adapted for full-size toilets and made more cost-effective.

Despite the promise of this innovation, there are challenges to overcome. The laser manufacturing technique used might be difficult to incorporate into current toilet production processes, says William Wong at Aalto University in Finland. Nevertheless, Wong believes that with sufficient motivation, a start-up company could potentially incorporate this technology into their supply chain.


This innovative 3D-printed toilet represents an exciting development in sustainability and water conservation. While there are hurdles to overcome, the potential benefits in terms of reduced water usage and cost savings are significant. As we continue to grapple with issues of water scarcity and climate change, inventions like these offer a glimpse of a more sustainable future.

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