LiquiGlide liquid-impregnated surfaces

LiquiGlide liquid-impregnated surfaces

LiquiGlide’s technology was developed in the Varanasi Research Group laboratory at MIT. Dave Smith was a PhD student in Professor Kripa Varanasi’s lab, working with a group of material science engineers on the prevention of clogs in oil and gas pipelines. Seeing the success liquid-impregnated surfaces could have in oil and gas lines, they thought to apply the same concept to condiment bottles to prevent adhesion, using materials that are safe to eat. Dave coated a ketchup bottle to demonstrate the technology in entrepreneur competitions (MIT $100K Business Plan Competition & Mass Challenge).

A conventional ultrahydrophobic (or superhydrophobic) surface is a highly textured surface that creates a cushion of air for the product to sit on, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “lotus leaf effect.” Such surfaces rarely work with viscous liquids and are typically made with materials that are not safe for food applications. Further, over time, superhydrophobic surfaces break down and lose their slipperiness. LiquiGlide creates durable, slippery surfaces using a proprietary thermodynamic algorithm to pair liquids with solid, textured surfaces that leverage chemical affinity and capillarity to stabilize the liquid. Over time, the surface continues to be slippery because the liquid is held in place between the textures. Because LiquiGlide surfaces can be made from a wide range of combinations of materials, they can be designed to be edible or to withstand harsh industrial environments.

FEATURES

  • Uses liquid-impregnated surfaces
  • Different than conventional superhydrophobic surfaces
  • Spun out of the Varanasi Lab at MIT
  • Fundamentally alter interfaces between liquids and solids
  • Eliminate waste, save lives, and enable a new engineering paradigm

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