Every BBQ and fast food fan will know this feeling. The bottle
is almost empty but all shaking and beating will not break the last
bit of ketchup of the bottom. A group of nano researchers and
mechanical engineers from MIT might have found a solution to
MIT student competition
Brian Solomon, one of the MIT students that invented this new
technique, explained: "We had a glass bowl and we coated the glass
bowl and put a drop of ketchup, and we played with it looked at it
for a couple of minutes and it works." The result called LiquiGlide
can be viewed here.
Concerns over food safety were dealt with carefully: "If you
wanted to, you could scrape the coating off and eat it and be
completely safe," stated Solomon. The ketchup coating invention was
outcome of this year's MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition where
students draw up business plans and present innovations.
$17 billion bottle market
Little is known of how LiquiGlide is created. Another team
member, MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith, explains that they employed a
"structured liquid--it's rigid like a solid, but it's lubricated
like a liquid. I can't say what they are, but we've patented the
hell out of it."
"We were really interested in--and still are--using this coating
for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas
lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields.
Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles. It
could be great just for its slippery properties. Plus, most of
these other applications have a much longer time to market; we
realized we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much
ready. I mean, it is ready."
"It's funny: Everyone is always like, 'Why bottles? What's the
big deal?' But then you tell them the market for bottles--just the
sauces alone is a $17 billion market. And if all those bottles had
our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons
of food from being thrown out every year."