March 25, 2015 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 liquid. 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 coating 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.
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