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Slippery Substance Will End the Ketchup Conundrum

| 14 Nov 2011 13:47
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World's slipperiest substance will help get last drops of ketchup from the bottle. SCIENCE!

Harvard University is an institution of fine learning that's been renowned in this country for generations. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau discussed Transcendentalism while walking its halls and more than a few Presidents call Harvard their alma mater. But perhaps the greatest achievement to come out Harvard is a new substance that is so slippery that it will finally allow consumers to get all of the ketchup from the bottle.

Taking a cue from the carnivorous pitcher plant which traps insects by sliding them down a slippery slope, materials scientist Joanna Aizenberg led a team which created a Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface (or SLIPS) which has the very rare trait called of omniphobicity - meaning it repels both oil and water. Such a material has hundreds of applications - from plane de-icing to anti-graffiti measures - but one stands out above the rest.

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

Such incredibly slippery surfaces are not without risks, however. They must be handled with extreme caution lest we have rampant condiment flooding. "The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to their food," Aizenberg said.

While we are all interested in a solution to the ketchup conundrum, SLIPS could also provide a lubricant for Arctic habitation, aid oil pipelines by coating the inside of the pipe, and even prevent ships' hulls from being fouled with bacteria.

How you like them apples?

Source: Telegraph and Harvard

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