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Pseudo Poop for Testing Toilets
April 26, 2012 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Testing toilet flush performance naturally requires the replication of real-world loads. Striving for accuracy, a Texas A&M study (PDF) evaluated polypropylene balls and Play-Doh sheathed in condoms before settling on a test payload of two Water Wigglers per flush. In contrast, the Maximum Performance project (scroll down for photodocumentation of MaP testing procedures) recommends the use of 350-gram specimens of extruded soybean paste ("specimens that float shall not be used").

MaP claims that as a result of testing of more than 2,200 fixtures since 2003, toilet design improvements have pushed average scores from 350 grams per flush to more than 675 grams per flush.
posted by bassomatic (32 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Silly Aggies. Bananas are cheaper.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on April 26, 2012


Toilet testing has come up a couple of times before:

High performance toilet demonstrations
Ever wonder how toilet efficiency is tested?
posted by zamboni at 11:32 AM on April 26, 2012


A roundup of high performance toilet testing, Previously (2009).
posted by helicomatic at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012


This post made my day, I'm laughing so hard. Thank you bassomatic!
posted by Omnomnom at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012


Those soybean torpedoes are disturbingly realistic
posted by unSane at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012


*helicomatic gives up his Speed Researcher ID Card in shame
posted by helicomatic at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2012


"specimens that float shall not be used"

I don't know why they insist on this criteria. Shit floats and I know it. Once, when I was an excitable young boy, I was treading water in a lake while two friends floated next to me in a paddle boat. I thought it'd be funny (and honestly, somewhat convenient) to do a number two right where I was treading water. Well wouldn't you know that little log just floated right up next to me. One friend thought it was hilarious, but the other started freaking out about "bacteria levels in the water" and shutting the whole (huge) lake down for the summer. He insisted that if he wasn't going to tell on me (to the EPA?) I'd have to "sink it". Let me just say that it took more than a few pinches to get that particular material down to negative buoyancy.

When we got back to shore, my friends mom offered to buy us all ice cream sandwiches (you know, the kind you eat with your fingers?). I thought it'd be suspicious to decline, and so reluctantly ate the ice cream sandwich, but was careful not to lick my fingers.
posted by grog at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


"specimens that float shall not be used"

What, so you're just going to ignore half of real-world flush situations, guys?
posted by supercres at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


OMG Grog, please please develop that into a short story. That is so awesomely funny.
posted by roboton666 at 11:40 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disappointed they seem to be aiming for a kind of single Platonic ideal stool, rather than covering every item in the Bristol stool scale.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:41 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'd think it would be smarter to figure out what kind of stool on the Bristol scale linked above is the most difficult to flush and then design the toilet to handle that (or improve the performance). If it works well in the worst case scenario, it should work at least as well with everything else with no problem right?
posted by VTX at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2012


OMG Grog, please please develop that into a short story.

Actually, I did turn it into an essay many years ago for a 10th grade english assignment. The title was "The Log", and I used the actual word "shit" at some point in the text, which I thought was pretty risque at the time, for a school assignment. I don't remember the grade I got on it, but what I do remember is that my english teacher said it was a funny story, but he didn't believe it was true, because, and I quote, "Shit doesn't float."

I shit you not.
posted by grog at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


soybean torpedoes

I think my college roommate saw these guys open for Phish back in the day.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:48 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Platonic ideal stool

One more thing to feel inadequate about, when your poop doesn't live up to the ideal.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:50 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This whole thread is great. I had never heard of the Bristol Stool scale; it seems like something the Germans would have come up with, since they have evidently designed their toilets to facilitate stool inspection. Also, after reading the comments here, I wonder why the Bristol scale doesn't take buoyancy into account.
posted by TedW at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those soybean torpedoes are disturbingly realistic

The Mythbusters at least made things a more un-lifelike color when they tested a fecal myth...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:56 AM on April 26, 2012


For once, an appropriate place for threadshitting.
posted by jonmc at 12:00 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


This whole thread is great. I had never heard of the Bristol Stool scale; it seems like something the Germans would have come up with, since they have evidently designed their toilets to facilitate stool inspection. Also, after reading the comments here, I wonder why the Bristol scale doesn't take buoyancy into account.

Achievement Unlocked! Sitzpinkel has been added to your vocabulary!

Seriously, this thread is more interesting than it has any right to be...
posted by mysterpigg at 12:05 PM on April 26, 2012


For the ultimate in high-tech toilet engineering, look to NASA's research on zero-g waste processing systems. The team at the Ames Research Center has come up with their own fecal simulant, a soybean paste they've evidently dubbed "miso". (I wonder what their colleagues at JAXA think about that.) For a hilarious description of the challenges of pooping in outer space, Mary Roach's Packing for Mars is #1 on #2. I'm immature for my age.
posted by Quietgal at 12:27 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stools that float are usually due to poor absorption (malabsorption) of nutrients or excessive gas (flatus).

The More You Know. ♒★
posted by zamboni at 12:27 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


a soybean paste they've evidently dubbed "miso".

I think you're misreading that - it's actually made with miso.
posted by zamboni at 12:28 PM on April 26, 2012


I dunno, the fact that they put the name in quotes sounds to me like it's a nickname, not a description of the starting material. But it doesn't matter 'cuz I like my version better! Nyah nyah pffbbt! (immature, like I said)
posted by Quietgal at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2012


grog, among my set of friends that particular maneuver goes by the mighty name of aquaduke.
posted by resurrexit at 1:54 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I Japanese friend once told me they used miso paste in Japan to test toilets. So I can believe that's what Ames is using, though probably modified.

It also put me off miso soup for a while.
posted by beowulf573 at 2:12 PM on April 26, 2012


I guess these guys...really know their shit.
posted by subversiveasset at 3:32 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmmmm. Zamboni, I'm not about to disagree with your post information, but recently there was a longish article in the daily newspaper (I shit you not) about healthy poos. Apparently you don't want hard little pellets, as it indicates lack of hydration in the gut. It also leads to hemorrhoids, something we'd all like to do without. My great takeaway from this article was the phrase *fluffers and floaters* apparently that's a good thing, according to the newspaper doc.



And yes, why did the Clivus Multrum never take off? Eliminates flushing, but then the researchers wouldn't have the great fun of evaluating turd-like objects.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:43 PM on April 26, 2012


Poop Splash Elimination
posted by cjorgensen at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2012


VTX--The most difficult to flush are all definitely Bristol Type 4s. It is only the type 4 that has the correct integrity and cohesion to allow the extrusion of truly monolithic poops. You know the kind I mean. The 18-inch long poop that sits coiled like some obscene aquatic rattlesnake, seemingly laughing at the gentle currents with which you hope to dislodge it.
(Note: if you have ever known anyone to take a picture of their poop--or to try to get someone else to see what they've made before they flush it--it was one of these.)
posted by agentofselection at 9:09 PM on April 26, 2012


MaP claims that as a result of testing of more than 2,200 fixtures since 2003, toilet design improvements have pushed average scores from 350 grams per flush to more than 675 grams per flush.

Are we suddenly pooping a lot more than 10 years ago?
posted by arcticseal at 11:02 PM on April 26, 2012


if you have ever known anyone to take a picture of their poop--

You just might be a redneck. "Y"all come look!"
posted by Goofyy at 2:42 AM on April 27, 2012


This thread stinks.
posted by Goofyy at 2:45 AM on April 27, 2012


I guess these guys...really know their shit.

[sunglasses]YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH![/sunglasses]
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 AM on April 27, 2012


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