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CU Boulder Researchers Use Lasers to Show the Spray When Flushing a Toilet

Laser beams typically aren’t associated with any kind of toilet, but that all changed when researchers from CU Boulder decided to conduct an interesting experiment. Using bright green lasers and special camera equipment, the team discovered how tiny water droplets make their way rapidly into the air when a lid-less public restroom toilet is flushed.

What they discovered was that the airborne particles that are ejected get shot out quickly, at speeds of 6.6 feet per second and reach 4.9 feet above the toilet within 8 seconds. They noticed that the largest droplets settled onto surfaces within seconds, while the smaller particles (aerosols less than 5 microns) remained suspended in the air for minutes or longer.


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