Vacuum-assisted toilets make use of a large pressure difference between the ambient pressure and a vacuum tank to transport waste from the toilet bowl to the septic tank. This process requires 98% less water per flush making it an attractive product for transport vehicles such as airplanes, cruise ships, and trains. Unfortunately, the water savings come at the cost of high noise levels. This thesis investigates the acoustic characteristics of a vacuum-assisted toilet flush and several methods to reduce the radiated noise. Some methods include changing rinse parameters such as rinse pressure, rinse length, and rinse timing, adding structural damping of the bowl to reduce re-radiation, inserting a tube between the bowl and valve that utilizes a larger bend radius and longer tube length than what is currently installed, and modifying the valve. The most effective solution without requiring more water per flush was to insert a tube. The initial peak level was reduced by 16 dB and the steady-vacuum noise was reduced by 5 dB. Evidence of evanescent decay and reduced flow velocity as possible mechanisms for the noise reduction are presented and discussed. Rinse variations show a strong impact of the rinse-tube interaction on the noise reduction. In addition to these techniques, a modified flush plate opening and closing velocity profile is suggested which optimizes the sound generated by the opening and closing of the valve. Finally, a promising dual-valve solution that may take extra coordination of vacuum-assisted toilet manufacturers and airplane/cruise ship/train manufacturers is presented. By placing a secondary valve near the septic tank, the main noise from the valve is significantly reduced.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





vacuum-assisted toilet, noise control, bend, radius of curvature, tube length, constrained layer damping, evanescent decay