We start the week with some research that might do away with some of the most unpleasant noise we encounter: the ungodly loud sound of an airplane bathroom flushing.
That terrifying roar in the smallest room of the plane is a powerful vacuum taking care of the business that water-based toilet tanks handle on the ground.
This saves water, which is always good for an airplane, and it also means there won’t be a spill if the plane hits turbulence.
But it’s loud, even as the rest of the aircraft is getting quieter and quieter.
But there may be a way to bring this problem in for a landing, so to speak.
Researchers out of Brigham Young University have been reworking the design of the water closet of the skies to minimize noise. Adding extra piping and changing its path changes the physics of the flush enough to drop the roar by 16 decibels when the air valve first comes open and 5 to 10 decibels once it’s fully open.
As the lead author of the paper said, “The toilet is much quieter and now kids won’t think they’re going to get sucked out.”
While the noise in those airplane bathrooms can be pretty jarring, it could always be worse. Take this story from the police log published in the Rio Grande Sun newspaper in New Mexico. Authorities said that on March 22nd at 1:55 pm, quote “An Ojo Caliente caller reported he locked himself out of his bathroom and really needed to relieve himself.”
Two days later, at 12:08 pm, quote: “An Ojo Caliente caller who previously locked himself out of his bathroom reported he had done it again.”
This Is What Happens When You Flush the Airplane Toilet (Travel and Leisure)
Man Locks Himself Out of Bathroom – Twice (Rio Grande Sun)
Airplane bathroom photo by Hillarie via Flickr/Creative Commons