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Super Slippery Bottle Empties Out Every Last Drop

Researchers at Ohio State University have developed an extra slippery type of bottle that allows every last drop of liquid or lotion to flow out with ease. The innovation, works by altering the surface structure of the bottle by embedding tiny nanoparticles of silica into plastic. Rather than being able to stubbornly grip onto surfaces, liquids and lotions simply slide away. The findings of the researchers were recently published in the journal ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.’

We all know the frustration of squeezing those last drops of shampoo or liquid from a bottle. Consumer Report backs this frustration up, confirming that up to 16% of liquid laundry detergents are discarded because it is so difficult to get them out of a bottle. Similarly, as much as 25% of lotions and 3-6% of soaps are wasted as a result of difficulties is squeezing them out of the bottle.

The silica nanoparticles embedded into the bottle’s plastic walls have a heart-shaped structure which prevents droplets of product from touching the bottle and spreading out on its surfaces. As a result, the product simply rolls away. Working with surface structure in this way has long been experimented with, the difference here according to the researchers is that their technique is relatively inexpensive and easy to achieve.

Because the nanoparticles are made from silica (i.e. sand), the bottles can be recycled as they would otherwise be.

This innovation could see further applications with other types of plastics, such as smartphone cases, to help keep them clean. Using surface structure in such a way could also be used in food packaging with some tweaking to the chemistry.

This is not the first step into the development in super slippery surfaces. Several years ago, MIT unveiled LiquiGlide, a super slippery coating that can be used in ketchup bottles and other containers that hold liquids. It works in a very different way however, by impregnating the surface with a liquid coating rather than altering the surface structure.

Els Zijlstra