Slippery when Wet

March 25th, 2014

Remember the old ketchup slogan: Good things come to those who wait? Well, not 100 percent of the good thing—patience isn’t enough to dislodge those last clinging dollops of condiment from the bottle. According to Cambridge company LiquiGlide Inc., more than 1 million tons of food gets thrown out annually inside not-so-empty containers.

Led by CEO J. David Smith SM ’11, LiquiGlide got its start in the mechanical engineering research lab of MIT associate professor Kripa Varanasi SM ’02, PhD ’04 with the development of a technology for creating and applying “liquid-impregnated” (i.e., permanently wet), durable, and nontoxic coatings to all kinds of surfaces. The market applications are seemingly endless, from the oil and aviation industries to medical devices to food and cosmetics packaging. At this stage, LiquiGlide is developing and patenting its coatings on a case-by-case basis, licensing them to specific clients— 22 and counting—who currently remain anonymous. But by 2015, the company promises, consumers can expect to see the technology at work in such products as toothpaste, mayonnaise, paint, lotions, and shampoos.

According to Smith, “Typically, a new technology takes 7 to 10 years to get from the lab into the market. Our technology is exceptional in its versatility and ability to integrate into existing systems.”

LiquiGlide has attracted major attention from its inception. The fledgling company won “audience choice” in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, scored $100,000 from Boston’s 2012 MassChallenge start-up accelerator, and was listed among TIME magazine’s best inventions of 2012. Soon, the public will find out whether these coatings can prove true another iconic marketing slogan: Good to the last drop.

Watch LiquiGlide president Carsten Boers discuss the product on Fox Business Network, read recent reports in Boston Business Journal and Forbes, and check out LiquiGlide’s summary of its first-anniversary milestones.

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