LiquiGlide is a super slippery coating that can be applied to all types of surfaces. Here, the company has coated the right bottle of lotion with LiquiGlide, which keeps the substance from sticking to the sides of the container.

Even glue is no match for LiquiGlide's ultra-slick properties. The glue in the bottle on the right appears to flow more like water than an adhesive.

When Co.Exist first broke the news about the invention, Dave Smith, the PhD candidate at MIT behind the novel idea, was focused on using LiquiGlide to make ketchup flow from jars more easily--so we no longer had to tussle with that bottle of Heinz like a Shake Weight.

The coating works with many other condiments, including mayonnaise, as well as most any viscous liquid, paste, or gel, according to the company.

Smith has moved beyond condiments to launch his own company, which is now negotiating deals with the largest players in the consumer packaged goods space--to bring LiquiGlide to everything from toothpaste to paint, as seen here.

Because LiquiGlide is odorless, tasteless, and composed of only FDA-approved materials, the team envisions applications for all sorts of household goods, like the bottle of syrup seen here. It will not only help to reduce waste, but will also reduce costs and help mitigate the harm we're doing to the environment in the process.

LiquiGlide’s coating creates a sponge-like layer that acts as a lubricating agent or a non-stick buffer between a surface and substance. Boasts company president Carsten Boers, “Our coating is so smooth that there is no nucleation side, meaning there is no side where bubbles can form and pop up. The benefit of this is, say, as a gimmick, if you coat a glass and pour beer into it, it won't fizz. Or if you pour a soda drink, it won’t lose its carbonation--or at least won’t lose its carbonation as quickly.”

2014-01-10

Co.Exist

Watch This Insanely Slippery Non-Stick Coating Get Every Last Bit Out Of Bottles Of Lotion, Mayo, And Even Glue

Watch never-before-seen videos of an MIT-developed lubricant called LiquiGlide that makes anything--syrup, ketchup, paint--slide right out of the bottle so you don't waste a drop. The applications start in the kitchen, but they extend into almost every industry.

Consumers expend a remarkable amount of energy (and muscle) interacting with household goods. We're constantly shaking bottles of mustard or salad dressing, praying the condiments will eventually spill onto our food. We're violently rattling pens and Coca-Cola cans trying to will out any last dribbles of ink or soda. And everyone has experienced the pain of running out of toothpaste, when we have to squeeze and mush and roll up that tube of Crest until it looks like the end of an elf's slipper, to force those final sticky gobs onto our Sonicare brush. But a new solution from MIT called LiquiGlide could finally end such first-world woes once and for all--while dealing a serious blow to the world's waste.

LiquiGlide is a super slippery coating that can be applied to all types of surfaces. When Co.Exist first broke the news about the invention, Dave Smith, the PhD candidate behind the novel substance, was focused on using LiquiGlide to make ketchup flow from jars like water--so we no longer had to tussle with that bottle of Heinz like a Shake Weight. (His aim was noble: Smith estimated the solution could save more than a million tons of annual food waste in the sauce industry alone.)

Since then, Smith has dropped out of MIT, incorporated LiquiGlide, and built up a team of nearly 20 mechanical engineers and nano-technologists. His company is now negotiating deals with the largest consumer packaged goods companies to bring LiquiGlide to everything from toothpaste and syrup to beer. He's also exploring how the technology could be applied to a new range of industries, including medical, manufacturing, and even transportation products.

Smith and company are hesitant to say much about the formula behind LiquiGlide. Carsten Boers, the company's president, compares the texture to a sponge, which, when "impregnated with liquid," acts as a lubricating agent. Applied to a surface, the LiquiGlide coating will create a non-stick buffer between, say, a plastic bottle and mayonnaise, so the normally sludgy condiment "just floats right onto the sandwich," says Smith, who boasts that LiquiGlide can work with any viscous liquid, paste, or gel.

Because LiquiGlide is odorless, tasteless, and composed of only FDA-approved materials, the team envisions applications for all sorts of household goods. The company is already developing ways to make it easier for consumers to pour out paint, laundry detergent, and even glue from traditional containers.

That won't just reduce waste, it will also reduce costs and help mitigate the harm we're doing to the environment in the process. LiquiGlide estimates, for example, that we throw out roughly 7% to 16% of the detergent per bottle because it's hard to get to--roughly $1 to $2 of value. With LiquiGlide, however, the syrupy substance won't stick to the sides--it will flow right out, saving us a trip to the supermarket for another plastic bottle. It could also change how we package goods, since many of the most complicated and expensive parts of containers--pump mechanisms, closures--are designed to force a product's contents out, and are now unnecessary with LiquiGlide.

"You often have 50% of the packaging weight in the cap, so that's a lot of wasted energy and resources right there," says Boers. Smaller package sizes, he adds, will lower distribution transportation costs and thus lower fuel emissions too.

But the kitchen is just the beginning. The company envisions greater potential in putting LiquiGlide in factories. "If we can make mayonnaise slide out of a bottle, in a very similar fashion, we can make [another material] slide through a pipeline, or a filling machine, or a mixing bucket," Boers explains. He imagines, for example, that LiquiGlide could one day be used to de-clog oil pipelines. Another wild application: life-saving medical tools. "What works for ketchup also works for blood," Boers says--lubricant could reduce clogs in needles, tubes, stents, even catheters.

For now, though, the company is focused on consumer goods. It's in the process of striking licensing deals with large consumer goods companies to apply LiquiGlide's coating to a variety of products, which are set to hit market in early 2015. The company isn't responsible for buying the materials for the coating or applying it to packaging. Rather, the LiquiGlide team is simply developing the coating for other companies to use, licensing it to them on a deal-by-deal, product-by-product basis. (At start, the licensing deals are likely to be exclusive, but Boers says the company has an "ethical mission to reduce waste wherever it occurs," so any exclusivity will only be temporary.)

The trick for LiquiGlide will be to make its coating applicable to as many substances as possible. Because the original formula is not universally applicable, the coating requires tweaks for each residue and ingredient it interacts with: The formula for making Aunt Jemima syrup flow, for example, is likely different than the one that lets Elmer's glue flow. Currently, LiquiGlide's database of coatings can work with 50 solids and several hundred liquids, but the totals could reach the four figures by the year's end.

Boers won't go into detail about the deals the company is locking in--they're still in negotiation--but says "we have finished a number of coatings now that are ready for market, specifically for toothpaste, paint, egg yolk, mayonnaise, yogurt, and sour cream."

To see how you'll interact with these future consumer goods, check out the videos above.

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15 Comments

  • Joy Morris

    Cool.... Now save lives and make it in pill form to use when getting a colonoscopy. The stuff you have to drink is the worst!

  • Fortunately, there are already products on the market that solve this problem! The Beauty Spoon® is a cosmetic tool that allows you to retrieve all your liquids, creams and gels from hard to reach areas in consumer bottles, so you get your money's worth. Find it at www.beautyspoon.com

  • Beatrice Zelenko

    I can see how it can be useful to coat things that need easy cleaning... non stick and such... but as others said I wouldn't want to eat it.. But no worry... no food company will use it, even if it was safe and free... they want us to consume more of their product and their counting on the left over in the bottle and us buying the new product.

  • Thomas James McGee

    I'd like to save the internet and this company some time. Liquiglide causes cancer and autism.

  • Hey guys, thanks for your comments so far. I've seen some questions here about the product and many more on Twitter -- all seem to be valid concerns related to the food you're consuming with this coating! I'll see if I can get one of the founders to respond in a little bit -- but for now, keep 'em coming.

  • Will it remain in the microwave? What about sitting in a car in the sun for prolonged periods? Nothing lasts forever, so what happens when it breaks off and mixes with your food? Is it biodegradable? If not, that eradicates the appeal to it helping the environment.