Liberty North high schoolers create solution to ketchup woes

LIBERTY, Mo. — It all started with the phrase, “It really bugs me when…” That led two Liberty high school students to come up with a solution to a better ketchup cap.

Two Liberty North High School seniors said they are taking your condiments experience to a whole new level.

“We came together and talked about our ideas, which ones would work, which ones wouldn’t, which ones were completely ridiculous,” Jonathan Thompson, 18, said.

After much consideration for a class assignment to come up with a problem — big or small –“anything that really bugged us,” says Tyler Richards — they decided on ketchup.

“When you turn it over and squeeze it, the water comes out and it’s really nasty,” Richards said.

“Our teacher wasn’t even originally going to let us do this idea,” Thompson said.

After countless surveys and research to back up their theory, their teacher agreed to the idea of a bottle cap that prevents water from dripping out of your ketchup bottle.

“Ketchup undergoes a process called syneresis, which basically is the separation of the tomato paste from the water,” Richards said.

It’s for the Project Lead the Way program — a national STEM program — science, technology, engineering, and math.

“We had to design a solution, we had to research the patents, and the science behind the concepts we’re exploring,” Richards said.

After deciding on a solution that did not already exist, they came up with a cap that looks like a mushroom.

“So the only way out is to go up under the dome, and then through the tube,” Richards said. “And so when you squeeze it out, all the water is sitting on the bottom, and the ketchup is the only stuff that will go through.”

“We would put our cap on, squirt out the ketchup, and we were getting none,” Thompson said.

Tyler and Jonathan are looking into getting a provisional patent for their product. They’re hoping it goes from a school project to something profitable.

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