Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bathroom Observations:

The water in the sink drained in a counter-clockwise direction, while the water in the toilet drained in the clockwise direction.

I believe we misinterpreted the results of our experiment, and that the water should have drained in the same direction in both instances. One possible explanation that could explain this inconsistency could be the pressure differences caused by unequal pipe diameter.
This assumption is only valid if the quantities of water are relatively equal (roughly 1 gallon for each).

I came to that conclusion based on my knowledge of physics, where one Volume (X) of water exits through an opening of diameter (D) compared to a similar Volume (X) of water that exits through a smaller opening (D/2). In this instance, there is greater pressure within the pipe that has a smaller diameter, which could influence the rotation of the exiting water. Although, this is just a theory.

A more likely explanation for our observation is that there was no difference in rotation; we simply misinterpreted the results.

After reviewing several online sources concerning toilet water rotation in the northern and southern hemispheres, the term "Coriolis Force" kept popping up. According to one site, Snopes.com, the Coriolis Force "affects only large things, such as air masses, but not smaller things, like the direction of toilet bowl water" when it is flushed; the same goes for sinks.

Truthfully, I have heard myths about toilet bowl water in Australia draining in the opposite direction that it does in the U.S. Having never been to Australia, I cannot confirm or deny this claim.

For now, i will have to settle with online sources that say there is no difference in toilet or sink water rotation between the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

-Matt Heim

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