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Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Trippy toothpaste

by Craig Bettenhausen
May 17, 2022


Credit: Craig Bettenhausen/C&EN

C&EN has been watching liquid-infused surfaces for a while now. These coatings create a super-slippery surface by trapping a fluid inside a microscopic texture. If used on a container, it means that every bit of what’s inside can make it out instead of getting stuck to the sides. The tech is in place in some industrial and naval settings, but hasn’t appeared in many consumer products. Now Liquiglide, one of the two firms commercializing liquid-infused surfaces, is bringing its slippery system to the bathroom through a partnership with Colgate-Palmolive. The toothpaste inside is regular toothpaste, but the bottle is a whole new thing. Liquiglide created a version of its coating system using a proprietary combination of plant-based oils and common toothpaste ingredients.  The two firms have released a line of zero-loss toothpastes as "Elixir" in the EU and "Colgate Re:" in Sam’s Club locations in the US. C&EN got its hands on a sample recently, and it is hypnotizing. 

Credit: Craig Bettenhausen/C&EN

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This story was updated on May 23. The original wording incorrectly stated that the coating contained fluorine. Though Liquiglide has patents and other work on fluorinated versions, its food, personal care, and oral care coating systems do not use any fluorine chemistry. 

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