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Glass Ketchup Bottles Meet Their Match With the Slipperiest Material Yet


"The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily..."

You can leave a ketchup bottle upside for hours and you still won't get all dregs out of there. The same goes for jams, lotions and other like substances contained in bottles.

The Telegraph reports that scientists at Harvard University created a substance that repels both water and oils -- a trait called omniphobicity -- and could be used to coat bottles and solve this problem once and for all:

Professor Joanna Aizenberg, a materials scientists at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said: "It is a problem we all face – we have a bottle of sauce and we are trying to get the last bit out but nothing is happening.

"If we used substance like ours to coat the inside of bottles, it would be possible to get it all out.

"The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to their food."

So, instead seeing ketchup trapped in those frustrating Heinz glass bottles that some restaurants still insist on using, you may get a deluge of it if the container were coated with this substance.

The substance has the appropriate nickname SLIPS, which stands for Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface, and has been tested against substances like blood, crude oil and jam, according to The Telegraph.

While many of us may be excited about the possibility to not have to wait endlessly for ketchup while are fries get cold, Aizenberg has other ideas as well:

"There are a lot of potential applications for this, but among the ones I am most excited about are use in the energy industry for making oil flow more efficiently through pipes for example.

"It also repels ice and so is not prone to icing up, which would be ideal on aircraft wings or in industrial freezer units. We could use it as an anti-graffiti surface, so paint sprayed onto a wall would just slide off."

Here are a few examples showing how slippery it is:

New Scientist reports that scientists drew inspiration from carnivorous pitcher plants:

The plants prey on insects, whose oily feet normally allow them to walk up walls. But pitchers' tube-shaped leaves have microscopic bumps that hold a thin layer of water in place. The water repels the oils, sending hapless insects slipping straight into their gaping mouths.

"They just step on the rim, and immediately slide into the digestive juices," Aizenberg says.

Starting with a Teflon, which is already known for being non-stick, the team coated it with 3M Fluorinert FC-70 that sunk into the Teflon's pores and left a thin layer on top, making the surface slippery to all substances.

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