Ketchup bottle problems solved

And, the material has chemical properties that allow it to repel both oil and water based liquids, meaning they slide off without leaving any residue, according to a team at Harvard University in the US.

The researchers behind the substance were inspired by the 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.

They found that the plant’s leaves have a sponge-like texture that are infused with water, which prevent the oils produced on insects’ feet from sticking, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspaper reported.

The researchers copied the plant by immobilising a “lubricating film” inside the pores of a sponge-like layer of Teflon to produce a smooth and highly slippery surface.

 They hope it could not result in self-cleaning coating that can be put on anything from car windscreens, inside oil pipes and on aircraft wings to prevent icing. It could also be used to coat the inside of bottles and jars to allow every last drop of a condiment to be removed by hungry consumers.

The researchers have already shown that jam, normally highly sticky, slides off the new material easily. Prof Joanna Aizenberg, who led the team, said: “The only problem with using it to coat sauce bottles may be that the sauce may come out a little too easily on to people’s food.”

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