A centrifuge is a device that generates accelerated centrifugal force in order to separate particles from solutions based on their shape, density, size, and viscosity. Centrifuges are used for many different applications in settings that range from industrial to residential. Companies in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals and chemical engineering use centrifuges during production.
Centrifuges are so powerful that they are capable of producing forces that are up to twenty thousand times stronger than normal gravity. This power is essential to isolate suspensions and separate isotopes. A basket centrifuge contains materials in an enclosed space that remains fixed around a single axis. While spinning at high speeds, the increased gravity causes the denser particles to move out of the substance. This technology can also be useful for extraction, washing, and purification of materials. Read More…
On a small scale, laboratory centrifuges perform the same basic function and are used for analysis. Applications like these make use of high speed centrifuges or ultracentrifuges because they can quickly sort elements. In industrial facilities, gas and oil centrifuges are designed to run continuously to maintain productivity.
In large water treatment facilities, decanter centrifuges are used because of their ability to operate around the clock. It is important to remember that both batch and decanter centrifuges can be damaged by even a slight imbalance that will throw off the spinning cycle. For this reason, choosing a centrifuge with the right specifications for your applications is essential for maximum performance.
Centrifuges can be found in almost any industry where experimental research or design is necessary. From aerospace to healthcare to biotechnology and beyond, a centrifuge’s ability to separate particles plays a critical role in development. In more common applications like household appliances, centrifuges are used to extract dirt and water.
During uranium production, gas centrifuges are used to produce nuclear energy. Because these devices could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, they are carefully monitored by national and international organizations. There is no universal centrifuges as different sizes and designs have their own distinct advantages for each application.
While many different types of centrifuges exist, they do all share the same basic function. An arm-like piece is enclosed and fixed to an axis that moves in a rotary motion. This axis can be made of metal or plastic and it holds the materials or substances that are intended to be isolated. As you would expect, an industrial centrifuge has a much larger area for material than a small laboratory centrifuge.
Some lab centrifuges have several vials for processing multiple materials at once. A motor attached to the centrifuge causes high-speed rotation when the unit is turned on. To create a circular motion, force is directed to the axis. It is this movement that is known as centrifugal force. In this process, the acceleration of the particles is far more important than the speed.
That’s because the acceleration will vary based on the diameter of the centrifuge, even if the speed is the same. The force of the acceleration causes layering based on the mass of the particles. This is how separation is achieved.
A centrifuge is categorized either by the style of its design or by its purpose. There are two purposes for centrifuges: preparative and analytical. A preparative centrifuge is used to isolate specific particles in a liquid. An analytical centrifuge is used to research the physical properties of a solution. The behavior of the particles can be observed by running the solution through the centrifuge.
There are many variables in the designs of centrifuges. Basket models and bowl models are tubular or chamber centrifuges that use tubes or bowls to sort sediment. The acceleration of particles is measured with the unit ‘G’ (gravitational force) and the speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). When choosing a centrifuge, the particles size, density, material viscosity, overall size, and sorting needs should all be considered.