Applied Analytical Systems

Basics of Centrifugation

 A centrifuge is a piece of equipment that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis (spins it in a circle), applying a force perpendicular to the axis of spin (outward) that can be very strong. The centrifuge works using the sedimentation principle, where the centrifugal acceleration causes denser substances and particles to move outward in the radial direction. At the same time, objects that are less dense are displaced and move to the center. In a laboratory centrifuge that uses sample tubes, the radial acceleration causes denser particles to settle to the bottom of the tube, while low-density substances rise to the top.
A laboratory tabletop centrifuge
A laboratory tabletop centrifuge, the rotating unit, called the rotor, has fixed holes drilled at an angle (to the vertical), visible inside the smooth silver rim. Sample tubes are placed in these slots and the motor is spun. As the centrifugal force is in the horizontal plane and the tubes are fixed at an angle, the particles have to travel only a little distance before they hit the wall of the tube and then slide down to the bottom. These angle rotors are very popular in the lab for routine use.

A small centrifuge used for the precipitation of proteins and other biological substances.

There are three types of centrifuge designed for different applications. Industrial scale centrifuges are commonly used in manufacturing and waste processing to sediment suspended solids, or to separate immiscible liquids. An example is the cream separator found in dairies. Very high speed centrifuges and ultra centrifuges able to provide very high accelerations can separate fine particles down to the nano-scale, and molecules of different masses.

Large centrifuges are used to simulate high gravity or acceleration environments (for example, high-G training for test pilots). Medium-sized centrifuges are used in washing machines and at some swimming pools to wring water out of fabrics.

Generally, there are two types of centrifuges: the filtration and sedimentation centrifuges. For the filtration or the so-called screen centrifuge the drum is perforated and is inserted with a filter, for example a filter cloth, wire mesh or lot screen. The suspension flows through the filter and the drum with the perforated wall from the inside to the outside. In this way the solid material is restrained and can be removed. The kind of removing depends on the type of centrifuge, for example manually or periodically. Common types are:

  • Screen/scroll centrifuges (Screen centrifuges, where the centrifugal acceleration allows the liquid to pass through a screen of some sort, through which the solids cannot go (due to granulometry larger than the screen gap or due to agglomeration))
  • Pusher centrifuges
  • Peeler centrifuges
  • Inverting filter centrifuges
  • Sliding discharge centrifuges
  • Pendulum centrifuges

Laboratory separation

A wide variety of laboratory-scale centrifuges are used in chemistry, biology, biochemistry and clinical medicine for isolating and separating suspensions and immiscible liquids. They vary widely in speed, capacity, temperature control, and other characteristics. Laboratory centrifuges often can accept a range of different fixed-angle and swinging bucket rotors able to carry different numbers of centrifuge tubes and rated for specific maximum speeds. Controls vary from simple electrical timers to programmable models able to control acceleration and deceleration rates, running speeds, and temperature regimes. Proteins can then be removed and the entire thing can be centrifuged again and the DNA can be isolated completely.

Laboratory centrifuge

For more information, kindly contact AAS Ltd 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrifuge

“Basics of Centrifugation”. Cole-Parmer. Retrieved 11 March 2012

Written and edited by Oluwakemi Adi

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08060874724, 07084594001

www.aasnig.com

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