Laboratory centrifuges are typically small unit centrifuges used primarily in scientific laboratories. Chemical, biotechnical and pharmaceutical labs all use laboratory centrifuges. Most often, laboratories use these machines to purify solvents in order to analyze different proteins and drugs.
Laboratory centrifuges separate solid particles from a solution by spinning at a high velocity. Through this process centrifugal force, a force that can be twenty thousand times more powerful than gravity, is created and pulls the heavier, denser particles toward the walls of the centrifuge. Although the laboratory centrifuge is considerably smaller then most industrial centrifuges, the setup of the mechanics is very similar to one another. An enclosure or arm-like apparatus can move in rotary motion while it is attached to a fixed central axis.
Centrifuges are often made of metal or plastic. Items, liquids, solvents or materials to be isolated, analyzed or tested are held in the center of the centrifuge. The centrifuge is normally powered by an electric motor that makes the apparatus spin. Laboratory centrifuges can also be called medical centrifuges.
Laboratory centrifuges come in different sizes, but are normally small and portable. Small or micro-centrifuges hold several vials each holding 0.2 mL up to 2 mL of liquid or solvent. This type of centrifuge allows researchers or lab technicians to process multiple samples at one time. The most common design for laboratory centrifuges is the basket centrifuge, which works like the spin cycle of a washing machine.
This design consists of a basket inside of an enclosed container that spins around a vertical axis at a high velocity that separates the liquid from the material. Proper balance is imperative to ensure accurate results and safety. Many centrifuges are continuous, meaning that they depend on a continuous series of close cycles to function properly.
If one cycle is off it can place stress on the centrifuge causing mechanical damage and possible personal injury for the user. Laboratory centrifuges are normally used in chemical, biotechnical, molecular and pharmaceutical labs. They are typically used to analyze different proteins in particles or drugs.