Emptying the bottle

Tomato sauce_sliding_out_of_LiquiGlide_coated_bottleEver since food manufacturers started providing sauce in bottles, there has been a problem with that sauce that is always stuck to the bottom and the sides. Now MITPhD candidate Dave Smith and a team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group have found the solution – LiquiGlide.

LiquiGlide is a “super slippery” coating made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging–though tomato sauce and mayonnaise bottles are likely to be the substance’s first targets. 

The MIT team was actually working on developing a coating to stop oil and gas line clogs, as well as a similar coating to stop ice forming on a surface. LiquiGlide evolved from their research. But it’s a huge market, with sauces alone forming a $17 billion market in the United States. Additionally, prevention of food wastage can only be applauded. 

LiquiGlide can be applied to glass and varying types of plastic. To the touch it is a solid coating, but its properties make it act more like a lubricating liquid. It is formed using only FDA approved materials due to its intended use alongside food, which means it might not be long before we see it used in a commercial product. Obviously, one of the most significant challenges the team faced was making sure the coating was food safe, meaning they could only work with the limited amount of materials approved by the FDA.

As Smith describes it, LiquiGlide is a surface that’s unique 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–glass, plastic–and can be applied in any number of ways, including spraying the coating onto the inside of bottles. Now, thick sauces that would normally move like sludge seem to just fall out of LiquiGlide-coated bottles, as if they were suspended in space.


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Watch the video to see how sauce poured out of a Liqui-Glide coated bottle comes sliding out.