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LiquiGlide coating means you'll never waste a drop of ketchup again

LiquiGlide coating means you'l...
A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle
A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle
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A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle
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A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle
A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle
2/2
A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes sure every last drop of any condiment flows right out of the bottle

It's one of the most common and infuriating dining problems everyone encounters: getting ketchup to pour smoothly out of bottle and onto your plate. You've probably heard a number of solutions from "tap the 57" to "spin the bottle between your hands," but even those methods can still drown your fries in sauce in the end. Luckily, science - or rather, a research group working at MIT - has finally taken notice and concocted an impressive solution. By coating the inside of any bottle with the slippery LiquiGlide coating, anything from ketchup to mayonnaise to jam flows right out like water, barely leaving a smudge behind.

The Varanasi Research Group spent two months working out of a MIT lab to develop the revolutionary substance, which was originally intended as an anti-icing or anti-clogging coating. But shifting the focus to food bottles wasn't just to make life easier on people eating at greasy diners. Aside from the obvious benefit of no longer struggling with a troublesome condiment, the coating also ensures that much less food ends up in the garbage from being stuck to the bottle. The research team estimates about 1 million tons of food could be saved each year if every bottle used LiquiGlide, and that's just counting the sauces. The stickiness of most condiments also means that plastic squeeze bottles require a larger cap to work. Getting rid of the caps could save 25,000 tons of plastic each year.

So far, the team has yet to find a type of container that can't be coated and has found LiquiGlide gives any surface a unique feeling of being firm, but slippery. This quality makes foods that would normally stick to the sides of a container just slide right out as if they were touching nothing at all. The group is remaining tight-lipped on exactly which substances were used to create it, but has revealed that it is completely comprised of food-safe materials that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Fortunately, LiquiGlide has already gained the attention of several bottle companies, thanks in no small part to it taking home second place in the MIT $100k Entrepreneurship Competition, beating out 213 other teams. Even though the focus has been on food packaging, the group hopes its coating could have other applications in oil pipes, gas lines and windshields, among other things.

You really have to watch the video below showing how ketchup moves inside a bottle that's been treated with LiquiGlide to see what a difference the coating makes. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking someone just took a bottle of milk and digitally turned it red.

Source: LiquiGlide via Fast Company

LiquiGlide Ketchup Bottle

17 comments
adamtx
I'm curious if this coating can be applied to nylon fabric and how durable it would be, could be useful for camping equipment.
livin_the_dream
Yes, finally woo hooo
Artisteroi Rlsh Gadgeteer
could be used for hydro-dynamic coatings for ships. decrease friction in the water.
A'Tuin
How are the bottled food manufacturers going to like this? One million tons of product saved from waste means one million tons less that will be sold if this coating is univerally adopted.
What, if any, will be the effect on container recycling? Will glass and plastic that has been treated with this substance still be able to be re-processed?
Finally, does this mean that future generations will be denied the opportunity to learn the old mealtime rhyme: "Shake oh shake the ketchup bottle, first none'll come and then a lot'll."?
abe
Does it effect recycling?
Leonard Form
Am skeptical on this . remember other special coatings that are supposed to be safe but eventually they were not. and this is food. maybe this is better in other things like cars doors or buildings so dirt wont stick.
Rich Brumpton
A'Tuin wrote: "How are the bottled food manufacturers going to like this? One million tons of product saved from waste means one million tons less that will be sold if this coating is univerally adopted."
That one is easy, they will increase the cost of the product 5%, decrease the size of the packaging 10%, and end up making 14% more revenue. Then it's a game to see if they get positive ROI on the equipment before the whole industry decides to copy and remove the differentiation.
This certainly falls in the "making better mousetraps" category, unlike the foil/plastic sauce packet which was more in the "new paradigms for controlling mice" category. Very cool, but it's not going to change the fact that I'm getting sauce in a bottle, although I will like it if I don't have to rinse before recycling.
Speaking of recycling, that was a great point, we also have to wait for it to undergo (potentially endless) testing before we can be sure that it does not flake, chip, degrade, etc.
If it truly is safe, you can bet it will cross paths with Rule 34 at some point, my bet is within 6 months of commercial availability.
The Hoff
Yes how safe is it? That's a big question.
Rich Brumpton
updated comment, looks like this is engineered out of FDA approved nontoxic materials, not sure exactly how they managed that, but it looks like it might actually be fairly safe...
MikeFromHC
"How are the bottled food manufacturers going to like this? One million tons of product saved from waste means one million tons less that will be sold if this coating is universally adopted. " I don't think that amount has any meaning to the industry. When I empty a bottle it has a very small amount left even if I am not desperate. But they could, 1. Raise the price a penny which would probably offset that amount by millions. 2. Make a slightly smaller bottle. 3. (and my favorite) redesign the bottle shapes to save storage space, thus reducing transportation cost. There should be no need for long, round, tapered jars. They can be short and cubic.