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Why does the toilet?

  1. Sep 14, 2005 #1
    I wouldn't think the hmisphere you're in would make that much of a difference in the flushing of your toilet. I don't under stand why the toilet flushes clockwise in The Northern Hemisphere and counter clockwise in The Southern.

    Gravity and rotation velocities are the same. Just what is it that makes it spin one way or the opposite?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2005 #2

    Doc Al

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    It doesn't.
    If toilets flush differently in the Southern hemisphere, it's because they are made differently.

    Actually, things are not quite the same. Above the equator, points north rotate slower than points south--leading to counter-clockwise rotation of large vortices (like hurricanes) in the Northern hemisphere; below the equator, just the opposite. This is the coriolis effect. But on the scale of toilets, the effect is extremely small and undetectable without extreme measures.

    You may enjoy reading this: http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadCoriolis.html
     
  4. Sep 14, 2005 #3

    HallsofIvy

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    But I love the title! "Why does the Toilet?" I'll ponder that forever!
     
  5. Sep 14, 2005 #4
    The Northern Hemishpere rotates slower....how?
     
  6. Sep 14, 2005 #5

    Doc Al

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    Let me be clearer: The Northern Hemisphere doesn't rotate slower, but in the Northern Hemisphere, points north move slower than points south.

    All points have the same angular speed, of course. But the linear speed depends on your distance from the axis of rotation: the further away from the axis, the faster. In the Northern Hemisphere, points north move slower than points south since they are closer to the axis.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2005 #6

    Pengwuino

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    Damn simpsons and their propoganda!
     
  8. Sep 15, 2005 #7
    In my physics class we learned why, but that was 2 years ago and I forgot now. Good luck on finding this one out.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2005 #8

    Pengwuino

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    It's how the manufactorer builds the toilet. The physical principle your thinking about doesn't work on small scales.
     
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