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May 24, 2012 6:38 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever been frustrated because you can't get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle? MIT has a solution for you.
posted by tocts (64 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did MIT just invent the high-tech equivalent of loosening to top of the salt shaker when your friend isn't looking?
posted by griphus at 6:41 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the dry cleaning industry is going to be ecstatic when this first comes out.
posted by tetsuo at 6:43 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow! If there is no detriment to recycling these treated containers, then they have also just savd a lot of water that goes into cleaning the recycled glass and plastic.
posted by TreeRooster at 6:48 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the dry cleaning industry is going to be ecstatic when this first comes out.

I think the porn industry will also be interested, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 6:50 AM on May 24, 2012


Just how nontoxic is "nontoxic"? Technically the FDA still considers BPA a "nontoxic" container coating, so please define that for us!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:53 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


When I was about eight years old, I said, "Why don't they put something on the inside of the bottle so the ketchup comes out easier?"

I deserve money.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:55 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, they say this will save tons of food. I'm all for it if it doesn't change flavors or kill me.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:55 AM on May 24, 2012


Watching those globs of ketchup and mayo move around in the bottles was really discomfiting.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:56 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Alternate title: MIT has never heard of ketchup squeeze bottles

And nthing the recycling problem.
posted by DU at 7:00 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm really curious about what the coating is made from, but a couple of really quick searches of published US patent applications didn't turn up anything.
posted by exogenous at 7:02 AM on May 24, 2012


I'm with you there, uncleozzy. When we as humans see a demonstration wherein the physical world does something that doesn't conform to the expectations we've built, there are typically two reactions: "HOLY CRAP THAT'S INCREDIBLE I WANT AND NEEEED THAT" or "that ... that was disturbing. Don't show me that again."

This one definitely fell into the latter category for me.
posted by komara at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like the real problem they're targeting here is food waste and not just frustration. With the squeeze bottles, you still waste a decent amount of ketchup because it's all glorped up in one of the corners away from the .... nipular nozzle thing.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:05 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The inverted bottles seem to do the trick of getting most of the ketchup out. Until you happen to turn it up to open the cap, that is. Then, the airspace/backpressure behind the contents works to perform a big red bukkake on anyone nearby.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:05 AM on May 24, 2012


Watching those globs of ketchup and mayo move around in the bottles was really discomfiting.

Made me think of peristalsis, for some reason.
posted by carter at 7:05 AM on May 24, 2012


A material that makes the consumption of the product more efficient so the consumer has to buy less while increasing the unit cost? I expect manufacturers will be LINING THE FUCK UP!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 7:06 AM on May 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


I thought this was going to be about tanks.
posted by MtDewd at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ketchup, like Coke, is revolting sickly foulness fit only for the children of the poor and ignorant. It should stay in its nasty little bottles forever, and those bottles should be crated up and hurled to the bottom of the deepest disused mineshaft.

I have spoken.
posted by Decani at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


If it comes out that easily, I foresee gallons of water wasted in cleaning up clothes, counters and floors splattered with the goop.
posted by francesca too at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2012


It seems like the real problem they're targeting here is food waste and not just frustration.

Actually, I think the real problem they're targeting is generating buzz for a product that they aren't really intending to use for retail ketchup bottles (or not primarily).
posted by DU at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Made me think of peristalsis, for some reason.

Me too! I think it's because instead of stretching or deforming as it slid, it just slid about as one big bolus of food.
posted by Jpfed at 7:11 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"condiment lubricant "

admit it, I'm not the only one that read that wrong.
posted by HuronBob at 7:24 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those videos were not nearly as fun as they could have been. I want to see enormous elaborate jelly castles created by putting that coating on a wide variety of pans and molds and then instead of being all nervous about it coming out it just SCHLORP plops out in a glistening multihued blob.

How does it work in freezing temperatures? It'd be interesting to make icecream containers with this, or those popsicle kit things. Frictionless pushup pops!
posted by Mizu at 7:24 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If this coating makes it into a product, don't you think they'd redesign the packaging to reflect how much easier it is to dispense? For the glass ketchup bottle they could make the opening about half the diameter it is now, and it would come out at a reasonable pace.

I wonder how durable the coating is, because it would be fantastic for things like measuring cups and spoons. There's a lot of ingredients that take a measuring spoon completely out of commision until you wash it, like honey, molasses, oils, etc. That's also assuming it doesn't make the food taste horrible, or impart the mouthfeel of silicone grease, of course.
posted by helicomatic at 7:25 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Dutch, being frugal as they are, have long since solved this problem. I bring you the flessenlikker.
posted by three blind mice at 7:26 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Centrifugal force has always done the trick for me, though it discomfits the wife when I'm waving the ketchup bottle around in wild, frantic arcs.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:30 AM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


We were really interested in--and still are--using this coating for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields

I am slightly more excited about the ice effortlessly sliding off the wings of my airplane that I am about getting all the mayonnaise out of the jar.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:31 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rather reminded me of this post from last year.
posted by edd at 7:37 AM on May 24, 2012


Think they can coat a slip-n-slide with this stuff?
posted by inigo2 at 7:39 AM on May 24, 2012


Less Expensive Solution: put a teaspoon of vinegar in a mostly empty ketchup (or mustard) bottle and shake. The remaining condiment will pour right out.
posted by Aquaman at 7:44 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




I don't eat ketchup; actually, I've only tried it once, to be honest, but I did learn a trick when I was younger that works perfectly for this. Hold the bottle upside down, and instead of shaking it furiously or tapping it, use your other hand to smack the underside your forearm with a bit of force. It works, try it.
posted by gman at 7:52 AM on May 24, 2012


I'm really curious about what the coating is made from, but a couple of really quick searches of published US patent applications didn't turn up anything.


United States Patent Application 20120103456
Kind Code A1; Smith; J. David ; et al. May 3, 2012


This is all way beyond me but appears to contain most of the chemical information. The other claims seem to have more to do with the nano-structures:


23. The article of claim 20, wherein the surface has a lattice parameter within a range from 3 .ANG. to 3.36 .ANG. and comprises a member selected from the group consisting of Cronstedtite, Silicon carbide (SIC), Iowaite, Brucite, Fe(OH).sub.2 ("while-rust"), Zaccagnaite, Moissanite (SiC), CalrO.sub.3, Dyscrasite, Zincite, Potarite, Tungsten, Pyrochroite, Co(OD).sub.2, CaPtO.sub.3, B2Mo, Palladinite, Scandium, Lithium, Ni.sub.7S.sub.6, Molybdenite, Theophrastite, Ag.sub.0.6NbS.sub.2, cesium, silicon, TaS.sub.2, CoH.sub.2O.sub.2, Koenenite, Hafnium, Magnesium, Scandium, Zirconium, Molybdenum, Nobium, Tantalum, titanium, vanadium, phosphorus, manganese-delta, AlN, GaN, NbN, TaN, TiS, VP, VS, MoB, WB, Ti.sub.2CS, TaP, Li.sub.2O.sub.2, Amakinite, Antimony, CuO.sub.2Rh, Ti.sub.3SiC.sub.2, CaFe.sub.3O.sub.5, CaFe.sub.4O.sub.6, CaFe.sub.5O.sub.7, LiFeSnO.sub.4, Li.sub.0.7Fe.sub.0.375Sn.sub.0.54O.sub.2, Tungstenite, Jamborite (NiOH), N Nb.sub.2, Theophrastite (NiO), and Montroseite (FeVOHO.sub.2).

33. The article of claim 30, wherein the surface comprises a member selected from the group consisting of beryllium, Br.sub.2Ni, Cronstedtite, Silicon carbide (SiC), Iowaite, Brucite, Fe(OH).sub.2 ("white-rust"), Zaccagnaite, Moissanite (SiC), CaIrO.sub.3, Dyscrasite, Zincite, Potarite, Tungsten, Pyrochroite, Co(OD).sub.2, CaPtO.sub.3, B2Mo, Palladinite, Scandium, Lithium, Ni.sub.7S.sub.6, Molybdenite, Theophrastite, Ag.sub.0.6NbS.sub.2, cesium, silicon, TaS.sub.2, CoH.sub.2O.sub.2, Koenenite, Hafnium, Magnesium, Scandium, Zirconium, Molybdenum, Nobium, Tantalum, titanium, vanadium, phosphorus, manganese-delta, AlN, GaN, NbN, TaN, TiS, VP, VS, MoB, WB, Ti.sub.2CS, TaP, Li.sub.2O.sub.2, Amakinite, Antimony, CuO.sub.2Rh, Ti.sub.3SiC.sub.2, CaFe.sub.3O.sub.5, CaFe.sub.4O.sub.6, CaFe.sub.5O.sub.7, LiFeSnO.sub.4, Li.sub.0.7Fe.sub.0.375Sn.sub.0.54O.sub.2, Tungstenite, Jamborite (NiOH), N Nb.sub.2, Theophrastite (NiO), Montroseite (FeVOHO.sub.2), Periclase (MgO), Heazlewoodite (NiS), Stishovite (SiO), Stibarsen, vulcanite, Magnesite, Diaspore, Magnesiowustite (MgFeO), SiO.sub.2, GeO.sub.2, FeB, Clausthalite, Altaite, Gudmundite, Celestine, Hafnon, Wadeite, Fe.sub.2C.sub.9O.sub.9, Xifengite, Cubanite, Galena, Jagowerite, Tolovkite, Qandilite, Florenskyite, Marshite, La.sub.2O.sub.3, Ce.sub.2O.sub.3, Pr.sub.2O.sub.3, ZrO.sub.2, rare earth stabilized zirconia, TiN, and CrN.

34.
[first part chokes MeFi html parser].... member selected from the group consisting of Krupkaite, Periclase (MgO), Paarite, Griceite, NdOBr, Moncheite (KMg.sub.0.5Cu.sub.0.5F.sub.3), ZrO.sub.2, Cuprostibite, Moncheite, NdOCl, PuOCl, Mn.sub.2PrSi.sub.2, Litharge, BiOI, AgI, and Ba.sub.0.156Bi.sub.0.844O.sub.1.422.

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:52 AM on May 24, 2012


You're late to the party, MIT

A+ for the concept.
D- for the execution.

I LOVE how the bot basically just hoses the crap out of burger #2!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:53 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]



And by the way, you have to tilt the bottle at around a 30 deg. slope, and then tap the neck or bottom. So the sauce settles leaving room for air to get through the neck. Careful, you'll get more than you expected.

posted by snuffleupagus at 7:55 AM on May 24, 2012


They should just market these condiments in toothpaste tubes. They make little sqeezy roller things so you can make sure to get all the toothpaste out. I have one.
posted by Gator at 7:55 AM on May 24, 2012


They should just market these condiments in toothpaste tubes.

You mean like this?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:57 AM on May 24, 2012


I don't eat ketchup; actually, I've only tried it once, to be honest, but I did learn a trick when I was younger that works perfectly for this. Hold the bottle upside down, and instead of shaking it furiously or tapping it, use your other hand to smack the underside your forearm with a bit of force. It works, try it.

Being around a guy with a ketchup bottle is almost as fruitful as having a buddy with hiccups, prank-wise.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:00 AM on May 24, 2012


Kraft puts nonstick coatings inside squeeze bottles of Miracle Whip. It is goddam amazing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:05 AM on May 24, 2012


I dont think it'll see the retail shelf. Why would condiment companies want to encourage using the last little drop in every bottle? If you throw away 1/8 of the bottle because you're pissed off it won't come out and just open a new one, aren't you buying 1/8 more product?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:06 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dont think it'll see the retail shelf. Why would condiment companies want to encourage using the last little drop in every bottle? If you throw away 1/8 of the bottle because you're pissed off it won't come out and just open a new one, aren't you buying 1/8 more product?

Or they could make the interior space 10% smaller, ultimately selling less product, while the consumer gets more than they ever did out of the original.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 AM on May 24, 2012


You could always do what my mother did, which was to put water in the ketchup bottle and swirl it around to get those little extra bits

and then wonder why no one uses the ketchup until a new bottle is bought
posted by Lucinda at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I'm all for it if it doesn't change flavors or kill me.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:32 AM on May 24, 2012


snuffleupagus, that patent application relates to "deep sea oil and/or gas recovery operation" - did you see something that suggests it would apply to food or condiments? This is from paragraph [0004]:
Hydrates are crystalline structures consisting of a lattice of cages of water molecules that entrap hydrocarbon molecules at elevated pressures and low temperatures. Hydrates can plug oil lines, forcing operations to stop until they are removed, and in some extreme events, can pose safety issues by forming a projectile within the line if subjected to large differential pressures.
Also, I doubt the heavy metals they talk about in the patent application would be food-safe as indicated in the article.
posted by exogenous at 8:38 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


> A material that makes the consumption of the product more efficient so the consumer has to buy less while increasing the unit cost? I expect manufacturers will be LINING THE FUCK UP!

If the implementation weren't overly expensive then it would be a coup for the first producer to bring this to the retail market. "LOOK HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU, THE CONSUMER! SHINY NEW GADGET!" Shit, I don't deny that I would buy a brand of ketchup just to see this in action. All it takes is one demo unit at the front of every Walmart, a mayo bottle slowly wheeling around in front of a sign that says "GET EVERY DROP OF FLAVOR THAT YOU PAID FOR" and people would be lining up.
posted by komara at 8:47 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Alternate title: MIT has never heard of ketchup squeeze bottles

They show squeeze bottles with mayo in the third and fourth videos. Also, at least as much ketchup remains clinging to the sides in a squeeze bottle as with a glass bottle The. shape and stiffness of the bottle means you can only squeeze it down to a certain percentage of its volume; you certainly can't flatten it like a toothpaste tube.

Oh and speaking of which, ketchup does come in a tube in northwestern Europe (if not everywhere, that's just where I've seen it), which pretty much solves this problem. You don't get as much for the amount of packaging, but it's much stronger, not as diluted with fillers, so it works out about the same.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:48 AM on May 24, 2012


I wonder if manufacturers will put in less contents but charge the same price with the argument that "You are getting more out of the bottle". Any thoughts?
posted by snap_dragon at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2012



snuffleupagus, that patent application relates to "deep sea oil and/or gas recovery operation" - did you see something that suggests it would apply to food or condiments?

Hah! I blew right past the abstract when I saw MIT, Smith, Varanasi, etc. Some of the chemicals did seem a bit odd to me, but WTF do I know....

Still, seems somehow related? Compare


"This invention relates generally to preventing the formation of hydrates in oil and gas pipelines."


to

"We were really interested in--and still are--using this coating for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields," Smith says. "Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles. It could be great just for its slippery properties. Plus, most of these other applications have a much longer time to market; we realized we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much ready. I mean, it is ready."
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't help but think: "constipation cure."

Anyone remember Olestra and the "anal leakage" fiasco?
posted by mark7570 at 10:10 AM on May 24, 2012


Also, at least as much ketchup remains clinging to the sides in a squeeze bottle as with a glass bottle The. shape and stiffness of the bottle means you can only squeeze it down to a certain percentage of its volume

Can't you just store the squeeze bottle upside down? I think they even sell ones with the label "upside down" so it looks right side up with the cap on the bottom. The kind with the skinnier neck leave even less waste than the mayo bottle in the video. What's the amount of waste generated by this chemical coating in comparison to the amount of ketchup left in the bottle? (i.e. both in production and left in the bottle when you thrown it out)

That said this looks really cool, and there are probably some completely amazing applications for it that these super smart MIT people are working on. Materials Science is pretty awesome!
posted by bluefly at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2012


This kills a childhood rite of passage: becoming strong enough to get the ketchup out by whomping the 57 yourself and no longer needing your dad to do it.

On the other hand: OMG AMAZING.
posted by scose at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2012


"Boy, you're ketchup's slow!"

"You mean your mom doesn't buy Heinz?"

Music: Anticipation


Heinz was selling the slow-pour as a feature.
posted by fredludd at 10:20 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


my only fear is that this renders the automato obsolete.
posted by marshmallow peep at 10:22 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now if only there were a solution once it leaves the bottle. (caution, funny but gross onion article)
posted by poe at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh oh. Matt Leblanc better quit his lollygagging.
posted by mhum at 10:27 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am slightly more excited about the ice effortlessly sliding off the wings of my airplane that I am about getting all the mayonnaise out of the jar.

Ooooh, and imagine if you put it on the conveyor belt the plane is trying to take off from!
posted by FatherDagon at 10:45 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Uh oh. Matt Leblanc better quit his lollygagging.

Besides the whole non-splattering issue, what always bothered me about that commercial was all the waste. I mean, we're supposed to believe that the bottle quit pouring after it coated his weiner? What about the poor, unsuspecting asshole that comes walking along behind him and either steps in the shit or has it drip in his hair? What about him, Matt?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:58 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could always do what my mother did, which was to put water in the ketchup bottle and swirl it around to get those little extra bits

This! Mom just use to rinse and throw the left overs in sloppy joes or spaghetti sauce. Couldn't tell it was there. Waste not, want not. I prefer glass to chemicals--although you can de-ice wings if you like, or put it on the toilet plunger.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:11 AM on May 24, 2012


or put it on the toilet plunger.

Why not just on the toilet tubes so you can throw your plunger away?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2012


"it coated his weiner?"

You wrote these words. In this sequence.
posted by pyrex at 11:27 AM on May 24, 2012


"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."

Doesn't a patent mean you can say what the materials are, because they're already in your patent? It's not a trade secret.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:38 PM on May 24, 2012


You're right, but I suspect the person being quoted confused a patent application with an issued patent.
posted by exogenous at 1:10 PM on May 24, 2012


I'm with Aquaman on this - add a little vinegar and shake hard, then pour.

And if you use balsamic vinegar, you get a pretty close approximation of the wonderful HP sauce, which is both hard to find and horribly expensive outside UK.
posted by aqsakal at 7:16 AM on May 25, 2012


I can think of a few really practical applications that were mentioned above.

1. Pipes (namely; toilets, hoses, water pipes, sewage pipes, etc.) basically what the original patent is for.
2. Capacitive touch screens (better than 'oleophobic' coatings?)
3. Vehicles (my hope is to never have to wash or de-ice my damn car again!)
4. Outer coating on prophylactics; lets face it condoms are just as gross before use as they are after.
posted by PipRuss at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2012


Outer coating on prophylactics

People keep mentioning this in the thread, but I think that while lubes are certainly necessary in this application, this stuff may reduce friction a bit too much. After all a bit of friction is the whole point, no?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:19 AM on May 29, 2012


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