From the medicine in the cabinet to the milk in the fridge or even the oil in the car, centrifuges are essential to modern life and industry. Also known as centrifugal separators, the basic functions and design are relatively simple. An enclosure or arm apparatus is attached to a fixed central axis. Often made of metal or plastic, this is what holds the items to be spun. Spinning is achieved as an attached motor applies force to the perpendicular axis which causes rotation of the arm or enclosure. This creates what is known as centripetal acceleration. The more dense particles or substances separate from lighter ones as they are pulled out in a radial direction where they collect at the bottom of the tube or holder, while lighter objects move towards the top of the apparatus. In short, the centrifuge allows researchers, scientists and technicians to effectively isolate suspensions by employing the sedimentation principle.
Utilizing centrifuges is a precise art that has become integral to many different industrial, commercial and even residential operations. In addition to scientific explorations, industrial centrifuges allow slurries to be dried for water treatment, milk to be separated from whey at dairies around the world and even facilitate uranium enrichment for the generation of nuclear power. Laboratory centrifuges, though much smaller than the aforementioned models are equally impressive. These devices allow doctors and researchers to study viruses, proteins and blood in order to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world. Centrifuges are even common in clothing dryers. These devices permeate not only the isolated world of research, but the everyday living of many.