Ever tip a bottle of ketchup upside down to get every last drop out but not matter how long you wait, it just doesn’t move? Do you get frustrated when you leave a lot of toothpaste in the tube because it just won’t come out? LiquiGlide may solve your problems.
LiquiGlide, developed at MIT, creates a special coating that can be used on glass and plastic. The developers claim that it’s the “first and only permanently wet, slippery surface technology.”
So how exactly does it work? An ordinary super-hydrophobic surface (meaning one that doesn’t like water) creates a cushion of air for the product to rest on. However, LiquiGlide replaces this “cushion of air,” or gas, with a layer of liquid. As a result, things like ketchup slide on the liquid layer, creating a liquid-liquid interface so the ketchup never touches the plastic. The researchers can also control the speed that the liquid slides over the surface. Pretty cool, right?
This new coating can help the environment, too. Researchers say that there would be no need for safety caps on squeeze bottles, which could save 50,000 tons of plastic a year.
LiquiGlide has other uses as well. It may stop beer and carbonated sodas from going flat. The smoother surface slows the release of carbon dioxide bubbles from the drink, which keeps it fizzy for longer.
This coating may be used for more than just food. Applications can range from de-icing planes to reducing clogs in oil pipelines. In fact, Elmer’s Products, Inc. signed an exclusive licensing agreement to use LiquiGlide in glue bottles. See more videos here.