Serious problems call for serious people to solve them. So MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith must be one hell of a serious guy. He and a team have created a solution to the age-old problem of thick liquids getting stuck in bottles and jars, thanks to a new non-stick coating that works like a dream.
It turns out Smith and a team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at MIT hit upon the solution called LiquiGlide. It's described as a "structured liquid" that can be sprayed on. It adheres as a solid, but provides a liquid-like lubrication that tackles that tenacious ketchup.
In case you're wondering about the apparently huge leap from what you would assume MIT mechanical engineers and nano-technologists would normally do, to studying the insides of a ketchup bottle you are not alone.
LiquiGlide was originally intended for use on an industrial level for thing like gas or oil lines, or windshields. As it turns out, since it is a spray on application, it is much easier to prepare it for smaller scale projects — like ketchup bottles — while waiting for further industrial development.
Ok, now I get where the whole MIT research team came in. Gloriously flowing ketchup is just a side benefit of a more complex engineering task.
The only caveat to moving it from oil and gas line production to the ketchup factory is that the LiquiGlide had to be food safe. That means it had to be made from FDA approved substances.
Smith told CoEXIST: 'We had a limited amount of materials to pick from. I can't say what they are, but we've patented the hell out of it."
He and the team have been rewarded for their efforts as the product took gold in MIT's Entrepreneurship Competition and they are already in talks with bottle companies.
We pretty sure everyone will be happy when this product is ready for implementation. Gunky bottles are the source of frustration for everyone from customers, product manufacturers and restaurant owners. Smith estimates if the product is adopted it could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out.
Clearly Dave Smith is on to something pretty smart, even if he is something of a condiment ingénue. He said, "I didn't know about the tapping of the '57' until I started looking into this. It was all news to me."
Good that he and the team have cleared the whole problem up then.