If you have ever felt duped by the amount of toothpaste or lotion left in the packaging, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. A new company called LiquiGlide is sliding into the marketplace with a new product that can coat the surface of bottles, jars and tubes, allowing consumers to access all of the product inside. The technology could have a significant impact in reducing environmental waste as well.
The coating is a permanently wet layer that is designed to be super slippery. Essentially, the product is resting directly on a layer of liquid. But don’t be mistaken: While the coating appears to be similar to superhydrophobic surfaces that are already in use today, the technology is different. Superhydrophobic surfaces repel water by creating a layer of air between the water and the rough surface. The technique is used for a variety of products, but there are some drawbacks with durability.
However, where superhydrophobic technology uses air, where LiquiGlide uses liquid. The founder calls it a “liquid-impregnated surface” because the liquid fills in the gaps between the textured item. The coating can also be adjusted depending on the material, making the range of possibilities immense. Just this week, the company teamed up with Elmer’s Product Inc. to use the technology for their glue bottles.
The founder of the company is Kripa K. Varanasi, an M.I.T. professor of mechanical engineering, and the CEO is his graduate student J. David Smith. Together, the duo figured out how to create a lubricant that strongly binds to a textured surface, while also allowing liquids on top of it to slide right off. Their work was published in Soft Matter in 2013.
A non-toxic, edible version of the coating can also be made for food products such as ketchup and mayonnaise, according to Forbes. If used, there would be no need to bang, tap, and squeeze those bottles anymore.
The technology could reduce environmental waste as well. In 2009, Consumer Reports found that plenty of product is left behind, with skin lotions leaving the most of those they tested. Here are the stats: skin lotion (17-25%), liquid detergent (7-16%), toothpaste (1-13%), condiments (3-15%).
This superslick technology, on the other hand, would reduce that waste to none as all of the product leaves the package, according to their site.
They also claim that the non-stick coating would eliminate the need for squeeze caps and pumps to help remove the product from the package. “Eliminating these expensive caps and dispensers would not only reduce packaging cost but would eliminate millions of tons of petroleum-based plastics that end up in landfills each year,” they write. This has the potential to save 50,000 tons of plastic each year.
Via IFL Science