Every Last Drop
Everyone has their own method of extracting the last dollop of ketchup from the bottle: a slap on the bottom; a frantic shake; or inserting a knife. Scientists at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston have come up with their own solution: a coating that makes the inside of the bottle extremely slippery, thereby helping the contents to slide out without leaving any trace behind. Here’s how they do it. An ultra thin coating is placed over the rough surface of the inside of the bottle. A liquid is then added that fills in any uneven areas to make the surface of the interior so slippery that the ketchup doesn’t come into contact with it and is therefore able to just slide out of the bottle. Just in case anyone is wondering if any harmful chemicals are used, have no fear for Prof Kripa Varanasi, who developed the slippery surface, claims “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.” As well as curing periodical bouts of frustration that can afflict ketchup lovers at meal times, the coating could help cut down on waste, as co-inventor Dr David Smith explains “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.” There you have it, a story with a bit of sauce.