Know All About The Laboratory Centrifuge, Its Working Principle And Types

Centrifuges in laboratories are essential towards processes including separation and purification among others. Their use is critical for testing (including pathological testing) while they are also used for research purposes.

The machine called centrifuge can be used for separating particles based on their density, shape, size, and viscosity of the mixture or medium. A centrifuge does this by exposing the particles to different gravitational fields (induced artificially).

Centrifuges are used widely in laboratories, and in healthcare settings like pathologies for separating gas, fluids, liquids, biochemical substances, tests and for other purposes. When the vessel is spun at higher speeds, the heavier particles are pushed outwards because of their larger size and the greater centrifugal force. Hence the centrifuges can be used for the testing of nucleic acids, proteins, viruses, subcellular organelles, and other substances.

Important Parts of A Centrifuge

The three important parts of a centrifuge include the rotor, driveshaft, and the motor. The rotor is placed in the drive shaft that also connects it with an electrical motor. The motor will provide the rotor the power needed for its rotation. Stainless steel and aluminium alloys can be used for making the rotors. The rotor is also balanced for their weight distribution, so that strain (on the bearings and shafts) and vibration are minimized. The sample to be centrifuged is placed in a plastic container or tube that is held by the rotor. Rotors can be the “fixed angled rotor” (fixed at an angle of 45° to vertical rotation axis in most cases) or can be the “swinging bucket rotor” type, where the sample tubes are contained in holders that are suspended from a rotor. In the former, the pellets get accumulated on the tube’s sidewalls while in the latter type; the pellets are obtained at tube’s bottom.

One thing that is to be noted here is that the swinging bucket rotors may be preferred as the palate formation is at tube bottom and hence the operation is convenient. But the fixed angle rotors can house many more tubes at a time, can withstand higher gravitational force and may also have a more rigid design. When it comes to the use of centrifuges in laboratories, some of the centrifuge types are given below.

Benchtop Centrifuges – These centrifuges may utilize the least of bench space and can have their tube volumes ranging from 1 ml to up to a few litres. The centrifuge may also provide the option of the interchangeable swinging bucket, fixed angle, and continuous flow routers.

Refrigerated Benchtop Centrifuges – These centrifuges are used for proteins and live cells samples that are more sensitive to temperature. The centrifuges may also accommodate different sample volumes ranging from 1 ml to up to a few litres.

Clinical Benchtop Centrifuges – This centrifuge works at a lower speed and is highly compact. It may be used in the clinical settings and pathologies for separating components of whole blood including red blood cells, serum, and plasma among others.

Microcentrifuge – The centrifuges make part of the research laboratory and handle the smallest of sample volumes like 0.5 ml, 1.5 ml or 2 ml. They may have the highest speed of rotation and centrifugation.

Vacuum Centrifuges – These centrifuges are used for separation purposes for removing the liquid sample solvents to derive concentrated samples. The machine may be used for the purification of peptides, protein-nucleic acid and other kinds of samples.

As we can see, different centrifuges may suit different purposes. Hence it is important to buy the best and most suitable laboratory centrifuge at the right centrifuge machine price. Talk to a leading supplier and manufacturer to procure the best equipment at the most affordable price.


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Written by Shashi Ranjan

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