The University of Connecticut Senior Design Capstone course developed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering is widely recognized by the Connecticut industry. The course provides fourth year students the opportunity for a major design experience in which they apply principles of engineering staring with the conceptual design through the basic science and mathematics, up to model, analysis, design of physical systems its components or processes as well as prepares students to work professionally . This paper will discuss the issues and challenges associated with one of the Senior Design (SD) projects that was based on student generated inventive concept and sponsored by the student-inventor. The project demonstrated the design and prototyping problems on the example so called “Self-Cleaning Toilet”. The project addresses “self-cleaning” of facilities where infectious bacteria and viruses are prevalent in frequently used installations such as public restrooms. These areas tend to be difficult to keep clean often, without obstructing the functionality of the facility. The solution being proposed in this project is an intelligently designed, self-regulating, cleaning system that is able to be retroactively fitted onto a variety of toilet seats.
UV germicidal irradiation was chosen as the primary method to eliminate germs for this device for several reasons. Using a UV light allows for more efficient, effortless elimination of germs as compared to conventional cleaning methods. The light encourages hands off operation, meaning that the user will not have to physically touch the toilet seat to clean it. Additionally, it allows the toilet seat surface to be cleaned continually throughout the day and in between uses, which is an unrealistic task to replicate with methods currently being employed.
Multiple experiments were conducted that tested the ability of the UV light to reach all surfaces on a toilet seat. The germicidal effectiveness experiment tested the sanitation capability of the light under its intended operating conditions. Finally, the durability test indicated that the device would be able to withstand the conditions of the working environments commonly associated with bathrooms. Designs, building and testing of the prototype of such a toilet seat are described in the paper. Results from each of the testing experiments and experience gained in the creation of the Clean Light toilet design are described in the paper.