Students Invent Ketchup Bottle That Pours Like Milk
Everyone loves ketchup, but no one loves when it gets stuck in the bottle. Everyone has their tricks – tapping the bottom, hitting the number on the side of the bottle, etc. – but most people come up empty handed when they try to shake the very last bit of ketchup out. But a new bottle design could put an end to this ketchup-lovers’ problem forever.
LiquiGlide, a design created by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a coating that makes the inside of a ketchup bottle frictionless, allowing the ketchup to slide out hassle-free.
The Old Way
The New Way
Dave Smith, an MIT PhD candidate, along with his team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group, spent two months trying to figure out how to solve the ketchup problem.
Smith said that the team was “really interested – and still are – in 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. 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 – we realised we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much ready. I mean, it is ready, as you can see. 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.
Smith is pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship, and holds nine patents. He told the FastCo website that “it was never really a personal pain point for [him,] but [he does] hate struggling to get sauce out of the bottles.
Smith and his team picked this as their product because of the money made in that industry.
It’s funny, everyone is always like, “Why bottles? What’s the big deal?” But then you tell them the market for bottles – just the sauces alone is a $17billion 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.
The special coating has a secret ingredient that the team promises is non-toxic and is FDA approved.