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Hot Dog! Coating Bests Ketchup Mess

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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Just in time for summer, protective-coating researchers at MIT have defeated a true global scourge: the sticky ketchup bottle.

Specifically, how to get that last big glob of sauce out of the bottom of the bottle without shaking it violently and having it splat all over your plate.

 Balky condiment bottles hold about a million pounds of wasted food each year, researchers say.

 MIT / Digital Trends

Balky condiment bottles hold about a million pounds of wasted food each year, researchers say.

The solution, a new bottle coating called LiquiGlide, hails from MIT’s esteemed Varanasi Research Group, a lab that focuses on development of nanoengineered surfaces, interfaces and coatings.

Protective Coatings

Normally, the group’s research runs to transformational protective technologies such as anti-icing aviation coatings and functional coatings that keep subsea pipes clear of clogging methane hydrates.

Video: super-slippery coating for condiment bottles

Now, researchers say, those same super-slippery coating principles can better the world of the barbecue.

Team LiquiGlide, as the developers call themselves, just took home $2,000 and the Audience Choice Award for their patented coating at MIT’s $100,000 Business Plan Contest.

Wasting 1 Million Tons of Food

The coating can be applied to glass and certain types of plastic and uses only non-toxic materials approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, MIT reports.

It could also be used to liberate the last blobs of honey, mayonnaise, mustard and other viscous, sticky liquids from their bottles.

 Dr. Kripa Varanasi is the Doherty Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.


Dr. Kripa Varanasi is the Doherty Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and holder of 30 patents. His research team develops performance-enhancing surface, interface and coating technologies for energy, water, transportation—and, now, ketchup bottles.

Don’t laugh: Team LiquiGlide researcher Dave Smith told Fast Company that if every bottle in the $33 billion-a-year condiment industry were coated with LiquiGlide, “we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.”


Tagged categories: Coatings technology; Pipeline; Protective coatings; Research

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