MIT’s Non-Stick Coating Keeps Condiments Flowing

The notion of a “condiment lubricant” sounds revolting disgusting, but the technology behind this new initiative from a group of MIT engineers is just fascinating.

LiquiGlide, a “super slippery” coating made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging–though ketchup and mayonnaise bottles might just be the substance’s first targets. Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging 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 $17 billion market,” Smith says. “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.”

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. “It just floats right onto the sandwich,” Smith says.

Amazing. Just amazing. [via theatlanticwire]

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