Sunday, March 5, 2017

New ketchup bottles allow you to use the last drop

Scientists working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way of making sure you can get the last drop of ketchup from a bottle and do not end up throwing it in the garbage while it still contains some ketchup.

The secret of the new bottles is a coating that makes their interiors super slippery. The coating may be used for other containers such as toothpaste tubes, and cosmetics. The MIT researchers believe that their invention can drastically reduce waste.
Consumers have resorted to vigorous shaking and tapping and other methods to get out the last drop of ketchup. Some enterprising consumers noticed that by turning the bottle upside down the remaining ketchup collects in the cap. Soon manufacturers adopted this idea by making ketchup and other bottles that were meant to regularly stand upside down. As a result it would seem only a limited amount of ketchup will be saved by the new type of bottles. However in the new bottle the last drop of ketchup should slide out without leaving a trace.
The inside of the bottle is coated with a rough surface and then on top of this a thin layer is placed. A liquid is then added to form a very slippery surface and fill in any troughs. The result is a surface as slippery as an oily floor. According to, Professor Kripa Varanasi, the technology is completely safe: "The cool thing about it is that because the coating is a composite of solid and liquid, it can be tailored to the product. So for food, we make the coating out of food-based materials and so you can actually eat it." The co-inventor of the new technology, Dr. David Smith praised it as a means of reducing waste: "With the manufacture of these sticky products there is about 200 million gallons of material each year that gets stuck to tanks and then gets washed off and thrown away. And in packages there are about 40 billion packs with material stuck in packages so the technology has the potential to significantly reduce waste." Professor Varanasi also noted that the cleaner bottles would drastically reduce the use of water and energy in rinsing bottles for recycling, as well as reducing costs.The new coating is known as LiquiGlide. LiquiGlide is already licensed to Orkla a Norwegian consumer-goods producer. It already uses the coating for mayonnaise products sold in Germany, Scandinavia and a number of other European countries.
The scientists say that the technology can be adjusted so as to be used not only by producers of foods but of beauty supplies and many household products. Varanasi says: "Our coatings can work with a whole range of products, because we can tailor each coating to meet the specific requirements of each application."
Varanasi noted that products sticking to the inside of containers led to huge losses in some industries: "For example, in paint manufacturing alone, paint sticking to the inside of mixing and holding tanks costs the industry more than 100 million gallons of lost product and billions of dollars per year in associated waste costs. Using the LiquiGlide platform, we are on a mission to eliminate waste generated across manufacturing applications, in areas ranging from food and agrochemical production to health care and energy, to usher in a new era of sustainable manufacturing."

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