June 21, 2012
The videos of the Varanasi Research Group’s proposed LiquiGlide™ coating for condiment bottles and jars have been widely viewed for the past month or so. Mostly it’s the video of ketchup rapidly pouring that you see on other package design blogs. So just to be different we’re going with the mustard here.
Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging industry. “It’s funny: Everyone is always like, ‘Why bottles? What’s the big deal?’ But then you tell them the market for bottles—just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market,” Smith [MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith] says. “And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.”
…One of the most significant challenges his team faced was making sure the coating was food safe, meaning his team could only work with materials the FDA had approved. “We had a limited amount of materials to pick from,” Smith says. “I can’t say what they are, but we’ve patented the hell out of it.”
Solving this problem, particularly with mustard, might have saved Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Toby” from a viscous beating by Robert DeNiro’s “Dwight” in the 1993 “This Boy’s Life.” Or not. From what I recall of Dwight’s character, even a nanopartical of mustard would have been enough cause for a beating. (See: Mustard Jar Fight Scene)
The name “LiquiGlide” has also been used in other product categories, namely eyeliner and car stereo speakers…
“All Audiotex auto speakers feature Liqui-Glide, the rare and costly magnetic fluid that improves performance by dissipating heat from the voice coil, thus increasing power handling capability. Which means you can really crank them up and they won’t break down. But Liqui-Glide also reduces distortion and aging which means you may very well get more miles out of Audiotex speakers than you do out of your car.”
From an ad in a 1979 issue of High Fidelity Magazine