Thanks to an invention by MIT doctoral candidate Dave Smith and his team of mechanical engineers and nanotechnology researchers, there will be no more pounding on the bottom of ketchup containers, and a lot less wasted food.
Smith’s invention is called LiquiGlide, a revolutionary super-slippery coating to liberate not only ketchup in a bottle, but mayonnaise and all sorts of other contents in food packaging.
Smith insists LiquiGlide is food safe, made of nontoxic materials, and approved by the FDA. The coating is made entirely from food materials, with no nanoparticles.
Smith claims even if you scraped off the coating with a knife and ate it, it would be completely harmless and flavorless.
Smith describes LiquiGlide as a unique surface because it’s “kind of a structured liquid — it’s rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricated like a liquid.”
It works with many types of packaging and can be applied in any number of ways, including spraying the coating inside of bottles.
“We’ve been able to put it on just about everything we’ve tried so far: glass, plastic, metal, and ceramic,” Smith says.
Thick sauces that would normally move at glacier speed literally free fall out of LiquiGlide-coated bottles. “It just floats right onto the sandwich,” Smith says.
Condiment bottles typically contain quite a bit of food in the bottle when they’re tossed away in the trash. “By our calculations, about 1 million tons of food gets thrown out each year worldwide,” says Smith.
“Also, those squeeze bottles need a big cap. By eliminating the need for such a big cap, we’d save 25,000 tons of petroleum-based plastics each year.”
Smith’s team had originally been working for years on developing various types of surface coatings in different applications.
“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,” Smith says.
“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.”
Smith knew LiquiGlide’s coating for bottles was ready to apply and use immediately. “I mean, it is ready. As you can see.”
Smith says the market for bottles for 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.”
LiquiGlide came in second place in MIT’s $100k Entrepreneurship Competition. Smith’s team also took home the audience-choice award.
Check out what happens when you pour ketchup and mayo out of a LiquiGlide-coated bottle on the videos.