STEM Science – Slippery bottle solves ketchup problem

STEM Science for the budding young scientist:

The age-old problem: How do you get that last annoying drop of ketchup out of the bottle?

Some of us swing the bottle vigorously in an arc, some pummel it, others simply break it. Many just give up and throw the partly-empty bottle out.

Ketchup bottle techniqueBut scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA) have developed a special coating that makes the inside of the bottle super slippery, so that all the ketchup slides out easily. The same coating technique could reduce waste in many other instances – toothpaste tubes, paint tins, even glue! Think of the environmental benefits alone of this technique!

The coating must first be applied to the inside surface of the container during manufacture. The surface first gets a rough finish, then a very thin layer of the special coating liquid is poured over it to fill in any troughs and ridges, to form a very slippery surface – like an oily floor.

Even better, the technology is completely safe. 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!

Click here for more on this from the BBC

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