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# If you flush a toilet in Australia, does the water drain counter-clockwise, or the opposite as in the northern hemisphere?

Question #75645. Asked by jimincreek6. (Feb 08 07 10:05 PM)

skysmom65

A popular misconception is that the Coriolis effect determines the direction in which bathtubs or toilets drain, and whether water always drains in one direction in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the other direction in the Southern Hemisphere. This myth is perpetuated by the Simpsons episode "Bart Vs. Australia." In reality, the Coriolis effect is a few orders of magnitude smaller than other random influences on drain direction, such as the geometry of the sink, toilet, or tub; whether it is flat or tilted; and the direction in which water was initially added to it. Note that toilets typically are designed to only flush in one rotation, by having the flush water enter at an angle.

This is less of a puzzle once one remembers that the Earth rotates once per day but that a bathtub takes only minutes to drain. When the water is being drawn towards the drain, the radius with which it is spinning around it decreases, so its rate of rotation increases from the low background level to a noticeable spin in order to conserve its angular momentum (the same effect as ice skaters bringing their arms in to cause them to spin faster).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_effect

 Feb 08 07, 10:13 PM
gmackematix

What goes around comes around...again and again.
See Qs42493, 54479, 26559 and 61895.
Now one way or another, I'm drained, so goodnight.

 Feb 08 07, 10:18 PM

### Other Similar Questions & Answers

 Some people will have observed water flowing down a drain clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere but if you fill a bathtub with water at the equator how does it go down the drain?

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