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Scientists Develop Super-Slippery Material

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the none-more-slick dept.

Science 298

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Anyone who is partial to ketchup with their food will know how difficult it is to get the final dregs from the bottle but now the Telegraph reports that scientists have created one of the most slippery materials ever that promises to result in new self-cleaning surfaces that never get dirty, could be used to coat the inside of bottles and jars to help consumers get all of the food inside, or in the energy industry for making oil flow more efficiently through pipes. Professor Joanna Aizenberg, a materials scientists at Harvard University, was inspired by the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants, which has a highly slippery surface at the top of its flute-shaped leaves so that insects tumble down into the digestive juices contained inside. The new material, known as a Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface or SLIPS boasts a rare trait called "omniphobicity", which means it can repel both water and oily materials. "If we used substance like ours to coat the inside of bottles, it would be possible to get it all out," says Aizenberg. "The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to their food.""

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just hurry up and do it (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047368)

Squirt all over me.

Re:just hurry up and do it (-1, Offtopic)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047396)

Squirt all over me.

Or, if you get any of the residue inside you, "squirt all out of me."

Ahhh! Too good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047422)

I'm cumming into your ass this minute! Cum fiesta~

Re:just hurry up and do it (-1, Offtopic)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047492)

Ah, yes: PADS (Post Anal Drip Syndrome)!

Re:just hurry up and do it (3, Funny)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047988)

It's full of Santorum [google.com] !

Not for cooking sadly (-1, Troll)

dev370 (2502500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047374)

In other article covering same research project, they sadly say [evenweb.com]
that said material is very temperature sensitive, thus unusable for cooking. Still nice curiosity.

Re:Not for cooking sadly (4, Informative)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047488)

In other article covering same research project, they sadly say [evenweb.com] that said material is very temperature sensitive, thus unusable for cooking. Still nice curiosity.

Goatse

Re:Not for cooking sadly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047692)

What about toilets, showers, sinks...

Re:Not for cooking sadly (4, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047858)

Remind me not to eat a meal that you've cooked.

Re:Not for cooking sadly (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048048)

A possibility. I've noticed that more expensive bathroom fixtures lately seem to be water-repellent in an interesting way--water forms into tiny sphere-like bits (we might call them "drops") and moves along the surfaces rather than adhering to the surface and sort of sliding down it.

Prior Art (2)

theswimmingbird (1746180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047382)

Aperture Science Blue Repulsion Gel.

Re:Prior Art (5, Informative)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047498)

I disagree. This sounds more like the Orange Propulsion Gel than the blue stuff.

"The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to their food."

Now, if it comes shooting out of the top after you open it, that would be the blue gel.

Re:Prior Art (1)

theswimmingbird (1746180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047578)

Damn, but you're right! Haven't had coffee yet, heh.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047808)

Disclaimer: not bothering to read TFA

The Japanese invented this ages ago, it's called nurunuru! Derived from seaweed and loved the world over for full body massages and their depiction in pr0n flicks. ;)

Re:Prior Art (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047834)

"Oh, in case you got covered in that Repulsion Gel, here's some advice the lab boys gave me:" *shuffles papers* "DO NOT get covered in the Repulsion Gel." - Cave Johnson.

Re:Prior Art (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048044)

Whichever it happens to be, if it can cover soft surfaces and survive cleaning we'll find it inside plastic vaginas.

Contraceptives? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047384)

Contraceptive compatible?

Re:Contraceptives? (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047652)

It's a contraceptive in its own right. Just skoosh in some of that before you go, and nothing is going to stick :p

Updated the Slashdot article for you (1)

cornholed (1312635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047698)

Anyone who is partial to <strike>ketchup with their food</strike> sex will know how difficult it is to get the final dregs from <strike>the bottle</strike> your partner but now the Telegraph reports that <strike>scientists have</strike> K-Y has created one of the most slippery materials ever that promises to result in new <strike>self-cleaning surfaces</strike> hedonistic pleasures that <strike">never</strike> always get dirty

Re:Contraceptives? (3, Interesting)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047914)

I'm not sure sex would be that enjoyable without any sensation of friction from the parts that are being rubbed together...

Re:Contraceptives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38048160)

I don't know about contraceptive but we do have a historical cautionary tale [youtube.com] .

There was a movie about this (5, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047386)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044876/ [imdb.com] -- We all know the ending.

Re:There was a movie about this (2, Interesting)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047670)

Keynesian economics presented in film.

Nice. I'll have to look for it.

flubber (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047392)

flubber?

Re:flubber (4, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047440)

no, it's the propulsion gel...for science!

Re:flubber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047636)

You monster.

Re:flubber (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047450)

bouncy != slippery

Re:flubber (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047532)

Indeed. Wonderflonium, for example, has a very high coefficient of friction whilst still being bouncy to the point of dangerous instability.

Re:flubber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38048070)

Do you have any? I need some for my freeze ray.

Solar Panels??? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047400)

If it has good UV stability and doesn't block to much sun light; it would be great for use on solar panels that otherwise need to be cleaned in order achieve peak performance.

Re:Solar Panels??? (1)

boludo (1777292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047710)

Smart, never thought of that

Underpants? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047402)

This opens a world of possibilities to the industry of underwear... First you don't need to iron, now you don't need to wash xD.

Re:Underpants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047494)

Shit!

Re:Underpants? (2)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047612)

You iron your underwear?

Re:Underpants? (5, Funny)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047706)

no .. his mom does ...

This (5, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047406)

This was the first post
but it slipped down here.

they could just ask politicians (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047416)

plenty of politicians are made of this stuff.

Practical application... (5, Funny)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047430)

Think of the practical joke possibilities... floors, door handles... oh colleagues' coffee mugs.

I think the Health & Safety people are going to clamp down on this one.

Re:Practical application... (4, Funny)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047520)

Just wait 'till the shit passes through the fan.

Re:Practical application... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047754)

I think the Health & Safety people are going to clamp down on this one.

Well, I certainly hope the food industry does. Howzbout we test this stuff before we just start coating our pots and pans with the shit. (Like Telfon, ya know?)

I, for one, am not looking forward to all my food tasting like cancer.

The secret is out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047442)

Taco Time does the same thing to me.

Re:The secret is out... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047560)

Maybe you could get some of this on the inside of your toilet...

Recycling (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047460)

So how does this fit in with the current recycling needs?

Environmental impact (3, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048072)

Specifically, one wonders about the environmental impact--how hard must this stuff be *to clean* when it gets stuck on something, for example? If we put it on a hundred million bottles a year, how will that impact the environment?

How about guided road surfaces? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047470)

Think bumper cars on a soapy plane. Try it within a city as a public transportation novelty and see if it works. One good shove takes you across the town!

Simpler approach (3, Interesting)

marcop (205587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047480)

For ketchup, just put the bottle upside down. Gravity will place all the ketchup at the tip of the bottle. For bottles with nozzles, simply unscrew the top to get the very last spoonful.

Peanut butter on the other hand is more challenging. Natural peanut butter tends to flow easier so is not as much of a problem. But the generic peanut butter is quite sticky.

Re:Simpler approach (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047570)

For ketchup, just put the bottle upside down. Gravity will place all the ketchup at the tip of the bottle.

If only they'd make balanced bottles with flat lids so that the same gravity doesn't have adverse side effects...

Re:Simpler approach (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047740)

I can't tell if you're joking or not, but the ketchup bottles that have been common in the UK for the past few years do exactly that. I think most bottles with similar requirements, such as shampoo, do the same...

Re:Simpler approach (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047632)

Peanut butter on the other hand is more challenging. Natural peanut butter tends to flow easier so is not as much of a problem. But the generic peanut butter is quite sticky.

Just store the peanut butter upside down.

Re:Simpler approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047966)

The problem with that is, once it's upside-down, it becomes normal and thus right-side-up.

Re:Simpler approach (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048226)

We store our natural peanut butter upside down so the oil is at the bottom of the jar and the solid is at the top when we open it the first time. When ready to open, we flip it over and stir for a couple of minutes until the consistency is even. It seems to stay consistent for as long as the peanut butter lasts, which is usually less than 3 days in our house. A little inconvenient, but worth the effort to have food that tastes real.

Re:Simpler approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047780)

Ketchup doesn't stick to the inside of the bottle because the bottle is "sticky"; the ketchup is suspended by the vacuum created by a trapped air bubble in the inverted bottle. When the ketchup falls into the neck of the bottle, the air bubble expands reduces pressure relative to the atmosphere - the atmosphere presses the ketchup back in at a equilibrium point. You need to stick a butter knife in the bottle to pop the bubble, then the ketchup will flow. Right?

Re:Simpler approach (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048038)

Put it in the microwave upside down on 20-30% power in 30 second increments. It will melt the peanut butter and it'll flow.

After last weeks news... (0, Offtopic)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047486)

...we're on the way.

Blackest substance ever, slipperest substance ever... did we just clone Carl Lewis?

I wonder... (5, Insightful)

korgitser (1809018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047502)

...what happens when this super slippery meets that super sticky gecko tape http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/11/07/1615221/gecko-inspired-tape-can-be-reused-thousands-of-times [slashdot.org] . Logic bomb?

Re:I wonder... (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047558)

That's what they made insurance for.

Re:I wonder... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047646)

You can't insure against the universe-ending explosion! You would never be able to collect!

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047802)

That is just what the insurance companies want you to think.

Re:I wonder... (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047818)

That is just what the insurance companies want you to think.

Actually, since the insurance company is pretty sure that the end of the world won't happen, they would rather you buy the insurance....

*continues stabbing the joke more to make sure it's entirely dead.*

Re:I wonder... (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047738)

The marketing department needs to get on that. For right now, unstickyable object vs. sticks-to-anything tape just doesn't have the cachet that unmovable object vs. the unstoppable force does, but with the proper market penetration, we think we can capture a good chunk of mindshare within 8-10 years.

Re:I wonder... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048190)

...what happens when this super slippery meets that super sticky gecko tape http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/11/07/1615221/gecko-inspired-tape-can-be-reused-thousands-of-times [slashdot.org] . Logic bomb?

There will be a tear in the space-time continuum, the neutrinos will cross the Alpine mountain faster than light.

Ketchup poetry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047510)

"Shake and shake the catsup bottle. None comes out and then a lottle." Ogden Nash

Consumers will revolt. The ketchup company will bring back the old, non-slippery, bottle and call it Ketchup Classic.

Portal 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047522)

This wouldn't be called propulsion gel would it?

Production process... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047524)

It's extracted from Mitt Romney's hair.

Could you use this on a submarine? (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047542)

Couldn't you use something like this to improve the efficiency of submarines, or perhaps aircraft?

Re:Could you use this on a submarine? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047656)

Exactly. Practical uses include getting catsup out of the bottle? really, that's it? So my dad doesn't have to leave empty (to all but his standard) balanced on their lids so he can get that last french fry's worth of condiment?

Even if the stuff doesn't take well to heat, put it in barrings. The main source of heat in barrings is friction, so if this stuff works as well as they say, it will should keep.

Re:Could you use this on a submarine? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38048112)

Bearings, not barrings. Bearings don't slip. Bushings do. Bearings fail from wear caused by the sticking and unsticking of the rollers on the races. A little of the friction on aircraft is from skin drag, but much more is from the bumpiness of the surface above the thousandths, form drag and interference drag. Submarines and surface vessels might benefit greatly from it, but as much from preventing barnacles and crap from sticking. If you've never scraped a hull, you don't understand. Windmills are laminar flow creatures which might benefit from this, if they stay clean. The guy with the solar panel notion might be onto something.

Re:Could you use this on a submarine? (1)

Madman (84403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048054)

Absolutely, however I suspect they may run into durability issues.

Re:Could you use this on a submarine? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048138)

Like the example of pipelines from the article this misses the fact that the primary cause of drag in such situations is not the surface roughness of the material but rather the turbulence of the boundary layer between the surface and the laminar flow. In fact a rougher surface can actually improve flow performance by decreasing the turbulence (ie a golfball).

Ketchup companies don't want this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047554)

They want you to throw the bottle away before you've used the entire contents. Otherwise you won't buy as much.

we already have that... (4, Funny)

Madman (84403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047562)

Why re-invent the wheel, just skin a few politicians.

How do they.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047566)

.. make this stuff stick to the inside of bottles.....

Proposed rename (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047604)

"SLIPS" sounds boring. Plus, it's the wrong word type - it look like a verb, but it's trying to be a noun. Not going to take off.

I propose the name "lawyerite", after the second-slipperiest material known to mankind.

Re:Proposed rename (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047630)

The obvious name would be "WANK". Just have to figure out what it stands for.

Re:Proposed rename (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048168)

They could boost sales even more by adding "Plenty of lawyers were harmed to make this material".

Neverwet (5, Informative)

data2 (1382587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047616)

Have a look at http://www.neverwet.com/ [neverwet.com] They also have some amazing case studies showing off what the material can do, and where some use cases are.

Accident waiting to happen... (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047618)

"It also repels ice and so is not prone to icing up, which would be ideal on aircraft wings..."

Seems like a bad idea if anyone has to walk on the wings for maintenance.

Re:Accident waiting to happen... (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047648)

If you look at the top surface of an aircraft's wings(large airliners anyway) there are a variety of marked walkways with various messages to the effect of "ONLY WALK INSIDE THE LINES. NO, NOT THERE YOU MORON!" in large print, presumably to keep somebody from putting a foot through something delicate or falling off and cracking on the tarmac.

I assume that, in this use case, they'd coat the rest of the wing and either ignore or otherwise deal with the service walkways.

Re:Accident waiting to happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047678)

The causal relation between walking on wings and the need for maintenance is quite opposite of what you suggest...

Even Better! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047662)

Not only does this extraordinarily slippery substance have a wide variety of possible uses, it can only be created by grinding and distilling PR flacks and advertising executives!

The Teflon effect (2, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047682)

So... if this material is so slippery, how are they going to get it to stick to the surfaces they want to make more slippery?
This is sort of like "I've just invented an acid so strong it will eat through ANYTHING! It's right over there in that bottle... oh shit!"

Griswold! (3, Funny)

MrMonty (366322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047718)

Be careful if you're thinking of applying this to your snow sled.

The first beta test (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047720)

I found a video of one of the first tests of this material. They sprayed it on the bottom of a sled so they could measure how much faster it could get down the hill. The results are fairly impressive [youtube.com] .

I'm confused (0)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047762)

What ketchup company would want you to have an excuse to go longer between buying their product? It's in their best interest for you to have to buy more when you can't get the last bits out of the bottle. This adds expense and decreases profits. Sounds like a surefire way to make sure no one ever adopts it for its suggested use.

Then why (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048006)

Why produce bottles with fat tops that let you easily set them spout down? That helped lots of people get more out of their bottle of ketchup. Now you don't have to wedge the skinny-top bottle upside down between others in the fridge, only to have everything fall back to the bottom at the dinner table.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048132)

To gain an edge on the competition. Similar ketchup bottles already exist, just imperfect.

Re:I'm confused (1)

happylight (600739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048208)

Err... Making it easier to get the ketchup out the bottle will DECREASE the time before people's buying new bottles. When there's a little bit of ketchup left in the bottle people will try to get it out before buying a new one 'cause well.. there's still some left!

The *only* problem? (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047776)

"The only problem may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to their food."

That, and the trace amounts of the slippery stuff coming off the inside of the bottle and coming out with the sauce too. And twenty years later we find out it's more toxic than BPA.

But, hey! We got the last drop of ketchup!

New Teflon (1)

romanm (178782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047782)

So this is the new Teflon. Years before we discover that it, too, causes cancer: 73.

windshield coating? (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047788)

I put "rainX" on my cars' windshield and the visor of my motorcycle helmet. Maybe this material will be usable for that sort of application as well? Yes, UV light is bad, but I have to re-apply rainX every week or two as well, so it might be an improvement.

What do they use to make it stick to the bottles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047790)

Sorry. Brain just imploded.

Suggested name (1)

willworkforbeer (924558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047826)

Politicium?

Warning slippery stuff ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047890)

Its made from politicians and athelets (college and pro). The extra slippery stuff which is so slippery is may cause the earth to slip out of orbit is made from wall street exec's and ceo's with golden parachutes and bonuses.

This is not to be confused with Governmentium,Bushcronium,Innofensium or Obamamanium.

Landfill safe? (1)

Oshawapilot (1039614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047896)

Not to come across as a tree hugger or anything, but is this landfill safe, since, ya know, a lot of it will eventually end up there in areas where recycling programs are not on place.

That presents another question - will it play havoc with the recycling process itself?

paint (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047920)

just think if your car was painted with it, or the inside & outside of your house, cleanup would be lots easier

Re:paint (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048036)

Paint your car-tyres with it and you'll never have to clean them again and they'll wear much more slowly and give you a boost in fuel economy due to reduce friction!

Laxitive (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38048152)

The mind picture is shittering.....shattering....aaaaahhhhhh.....whatever!

Move out of my way Astroglide! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38048150)

Almost unlimited application in the porn industry.

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