MIT makes ketchup flow better than ever

Nieuws | de redactie
25 mei 2012 | A team of young engineers at MIT came up with a coating liquid that makes ketchup glide easily through a bottle. Having translated this into a business plan for the $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, the team is now set to tackle a $17 billion bottle market… and food waste.

Every BBQ and fast food fan will know this feeling. The bottleis almost empty but all shaking and beating will not break the lastbit of ketchup of the bottom. A group of nano researchers andmechanical engineers from MIT might have found a solution tothat.

MIT student competition

Brian Solomon, one of the MIT students that invented this newtechnique, explained: “We had a glass bowl and we coated the glassbowl and put a drop of ketchup, and we played with it looked at itfor a couple of minutes and it works.” The result called LiquiGlidecan be viewed here.

Concerns over food safety were dealt with carefully: “If youwanted to, you could scrape the coating off and eat it and becompletely safe,” stated Solomon. The ketchup coating invention wasoutcome of this year’s MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition wherestudents draw up business plans and present innovations.

$17 billion bottle market

Little is known of how LiquiGlide is created. Another teammember, MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith, explains that they employed a”structured liquid–it’s rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricatedlike a liquid. I can’t say what they are, but we’ve patented thehell out of it.”

“We were really interested in–and still are–using this coatingfor anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gaslines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields.Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles. Itcould be great just for its slippery properties. Plus, most ofthese other applications have a much longer time to market; werealized we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty muchready. I mean, it is ready.”

“It’s funny: Everyone is always like, ‘Why bottles? What’s thebig deal?’ But then you tell them the market for bottles–just thesauces alone is a $17 billion market. And if all those bottles hadour coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tonsof food from being thrown out every year.”

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