Maintenance Tip: Centrifuges

Wiping your centrifuge down after each use to prevent contamination, ensuring there is enough space around the unit for proper venting, and looking after the rotor are especially critical, according to manufacturers. An improperly-cared-for rotor can become a potentially lethal hazard, so it’s important to clean your rotor and prevent aggressive chemicals from getting at it. However, this only applies to metal rotors. Carbon-fiber rotors are maintenance-free.

Will sample volume have an influence on what type of centrifuge is needed?

The volume of sample and, accordingly, the type of tube or plate which is being used will have a direct effect on which type of centrifuge is ideal. Typically, benchtop models come in specialized formats which ac- commodate a narrower range of rotors and configurations. For samples and processes which have large or varying volumes, a floor standing model may be a better fit. The capacity and rotor configurations are usually more diverse in a floor standing model.

Is it relevant to know if the samples are sensitive to changes in temperature?

As a centrifuge is engaged and begins to spin, heat will be generated by the friction of the rotor. If the samples are sensitive to changes in tempera- ture, then a centrifuge which has refrigeration and temperature control op- tions should be considered. Many vendors offer units with such capabilities, including CFC free options.

How will the need to process blood and biological samples affect the type of centrifuge needed?

For clinical and blood banking procedures, there are a subset of spe- cialized centrifuges. Cell washers are ideal for blood banking purposes. These centrifuges are set to spin at a lower speed and are used to wash away cellular debris, extraneous proteins, and other debris from donor red blood cells. This blood can then have cross matching and other tests performed before use. Clinical centrifuges are used to perform diagnos- tic examinations on blood, urine, and other samples. These specialized units spin at a lower speed as well, and are typically low throughput.


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