Boston: An Indian-origin scientist at MIThas found a novel way to get every last drop of ketchup, shampoo and glue out of the bottle by developing a coating that makes container interiors super slippery.
The brainchild of Kripa Varanasi, mechanical engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and his students, the coating called LiquiGlide is set to make the transition from the laboratory to consumer and industrial markets.
LiquiGlide renders a surface highly slippery and allows every last drop of ketchup – or almost any other viscous product, from paint, to glue, to cosmetics – to flow from its container without sticking, saving billions of gallons of product from going waste.
“Viscous products sticking to the inside of containers lead to huge losses across industries,” Varanasi said.
“For example, in paint manufacturing alone, paint sticking to the inside of mixing and holding tanks costs the industry more than 100 million gallons of lost product and billions of dollars per year in associated waste costs.
“Using the LiquiGlide platform, we are on a mission to eliminate waste generated across manufacturing applications, in areas ranging from food and agrochemical production to health care and energy, to usher in a new era of sustainable manufacturing,” he said.
The findings could not only help consumers get those last drops of ketchup, honey, or skin cream out of their jars, they may also enhance many other processes relating to manufacturing and power plants, airplane de-icing, flow in pipelines, water treatment and desalination and reducing agricultural runoff.
In addition to LiquiGlide, Varanasi has launched another startup company, in partnership with MIT professor of chemical engineering Karen Gleason, called DropWise.
The company is developing durable hydrophobic coatings for power plants and other industrial machinery, to boost their overall efficiency.
He points out that 85 per cent of the world’s electricity generators rely on steam cycles that are mostly powered by fossil fuels, so even a small improvement in their operating efficiency could have a significant impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. PTI
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