LiquiGlide poised to market superhydrophobic coating for wide range of products

March 25, 2015 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report

LiquiGlide poised to market superhydrophobic coating for wide range of products
(Phys.org)—Newly created company LiquiGlide has announced that they have landed a contract with Elmer's glue to provide a superhydrophobic coating for glue bottles, allowing consumers to more easily access all of the product inside. The product by the same name comes with different ingredients depending on the application, but the end result is the same, liquid materials inside slide against the coating allowing for easy removal.

LiquiGlide is the brainchild of Kripa Varanasi, a professor at MIT, he has told the press that the idea came from his wife who was having difficulty getting all of the honey out of a bottle. Varanasi claims he came up with a solution over a single weekend—a coating that sits between a porous surface and a . The coating is sprayed onto a surface (such as inside a honey jar) and because it is liquid based, it fills the tiny valleys that exist on a porous surface and is kept in place by the hills. The coating depth is just enough to prevent the liquid from touching the surface underneath, thus the liquid moves in response to gravity with little to no friction or binding forces holding it back—the result, honey, mayonnaise, Elmer's Glue and other Bingham plastics that slide out of their containers leaving no bits behind on the walls, base or nozzle. Each type of coating is customized to match the material that is to be coated and to interact properly with the liquid—natural ingredients, for example, are used in treating containers used to hold food products.

The deal with Elmer's and another unnamed company in Australia that wants to use the to prevent paint from sticking to paint can lids, likely means that LiquiGlide is poised to become a presence in the marketplace. As consumers become aware of its existence, they will likely demand it be offered in a wide variety of applications such as lotions, toothpaste, condiments and virtually every other product where some material is always left behind in the container, leaving customers feeling cheated.

Varanasi suggests the product will have other commercial uses as well, in oil pipelines for example, or perhaps on airplane wings. He claims the application of his product would cut down on pumping and maintenance costs and help protect the environment as well, as it would replace many of the toxic solvents now in use.

Explore further: Poison dart frog inspires new way to de-ice planes

More information: liquiglide.com/

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13 comments

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MR166
5 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2015
It should make a super car wax. Seriously the applications seem limitless. I am surprised that the glue bottle was chosen as the first commercial usage.
syndicate_51
not rated yet Mar 25, 2015
Too cool.
LariAnn
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2015
Some companies might not want it on their containers because the fact that material stays on the walls means the store can sell more to the customer to replace what they can't get out of the container. Over time, though, companies that want the customer to get every drop they pay for will take over the market and the greedier companies will lose business and profits, as it should be.
tscati
not rated yet Mar 25, 2015
How does it affect recyclability of the plastic bottle?
Dethe
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2015
Too cool.
These coatings are on the market for quite some time already.
Shabs42
not rated yet Mar 25, 2015
Some companies might not want it on their containers because the fact that material stays on the walls means the store can sell more to the customer to replace what they can't get out of the container. Over time, though, companies that want the customer to get every drop they pay for will take over the market and the greedier companies will lose business and profits, as it should be.


That's why they'll likely sign exclusive deals in each industry as they have with Elmer's. One company in each sector will be able to market this while manufacturing costs don't change. Customers buy slightly less often, but you gain enough customers to make up for it.
Dethe
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2015
LiquiGlide is the first and only company to create permanently wet slippery surfaces. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we are led by top scientists and successful entrepreneurs
How these spin-off companies work at legal basis? The scientists develop something for governmental money at MIT - and after then they're doing business with it at private basis..
Dethe
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2015
I am surprised that the glue bottle was chosen as the first commercial usage
I'm not, because the hydrophobic surface is impregnated with fluid (in similar way, like the surface of Venus trap) and it can release its toxic components into outside. So it cannot be used for food bottles.
MR166
not rated yet Mar 26, 2015
"How these spin-off companies work at legal basis? The scientists develop something for governmental money at MIT - and after then they're doing business with it at private basis.."

A lot of times the schools retain some percentage of the profits. But to answer your question that is how government funded research works. We have been very successful as a nation with this system. The government creates new jobs and industry this way so it does benefit everyone in the long run.
adam_russell_9615
not rated yet Mar 28, 2015
Thats ok with glue but if you want to use it on food products you will have to prove its safe.
Dethe
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2015
that is how government funded research works. We have been very successful as a nation with this system
This is like to say, that the imperial units or cocaine use are perfect, as the USA has been successful as a nation with this system..;-) I of course know, that the system of funded research works so, but from my perspective it looks rather as an embezzlement of tax payers money with scientists involved.
MR166
not rated yet Mar 29, 2015
I can see your point but the government does benefit from the products created by the grants. This is how we keep the nation employed. Employed people pay taxes keeping the system going.
Dethe
3 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2015
I see, the employment - the source of all evil in science. Aren't we ignoring the cold fusion findings for century just for to keep few scientists employed? IMO it's time to requalify our priorities....

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