Look, not all science and engineering needs to produce life-saving cancer screening tests. Sometimes we need to fix the little problems that have been around for decades.
Like stuck ketchup.
Generations have faced the two-fold challenge a bottle of ketchup presents — how to hold the bottle at just the right angle while simultaneously pounding on and shaking the bottle to get the right amount to come out. And also clearing out the entire bottle. How many tons of ketchup have been wasted because of our inability to get at the stuff sticking to the bottom and sides of the bottle.
But not anymore. A team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a coating for the inside of ketchup bottles which helps the tomato-y goodness to pour as easily as milk.
MIT doctoral candidate Dave Smith and a team of researchers developed what Smith calls a structured liquid — a substance, he explained to Fast Company [via MSNBC], that is “rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricated like a liquid.”
They’re calling it LiquiGlide and it’s made of non-toxic, FDA-approved materials and can be coated on the inside of all kinds of food packaging in addition to ketchup bottles — mayonnaise and honey jars, for example.
The team has already patented LiquiGlide and they’re envisioning applications beyond that of stuck food. From MSNBC:
“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 nonwetting applications like, say, on windshields.”
Smith won’t say what materials LiquiGlide is made of but if it involves anything close to BPA he can expect some resistance from health-conscious parents everywhere. Even those who are fed up, so to speak, with slow-flowing ketchup.
Here’s the new invention in action: