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The wait is over: MIT researchers solve the ketchup problem

MIT researchers have developed a new surface that adds lubrication to containers to make thicker food substances flow out easily.Fast Company

No more violent shaking. No more tapping the “57” logo. And certainly no more ketchup left to waste at the bottom of the bottle -- all thanks to Ph.D. candidate Dave Smith and his team of MIT researchers.

Smith's team, consisting of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists, over the past several months has created “LiquiGlide,” a non-toxic coating so slippery that when you tilt the bottle, the ketchup just flows. Every last drop.

"It just floats right onto the sandwich," Smith told Fast Company.

The technology isn’t limited to just ketchup, Smith says. The coating can be applied to a variety of surfaces, glass or plastic, and could conceivably work with all kinds of thick sauces. And for Smith, the benefits are obvious.

According to Smith, their coating is especially unique because of its special properties: It’s "kind of a structured liquid -- it’s rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricated like a liquid."

The concept is already gaining traction. The team recently placed second in MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, taking home the fan favorite award. Smith, though, is already looking to the future.

"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 told Fast Company.

"And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about 1 million tons of food from being thrown out every year."