Centrifuges are key workhorses in many laboratories to separate gases or fluids based on density and particle size. Gravitational force causes particles of higher density in relation to the solvent to sink, and those of lower density to float to the top of the solution. The differences in density needed to separate particles within a solution can be very small. There are many different sizes and types of centrifuges available to fit the requirements of a variety of applications. For a list of centrifuge manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/centrifuge-manufacturers
6 Questions to Ask When Buying a Centrifuge:
- What sample volumes will you be working with?
- What speed and g-force is required for your application?
- How much laboratory space is available? There are many different sizes of floor-standing and benchtop models available.
- Will you be working with temperature-sensitive samples? Is refrigeration and temperature control required?
- What rotors are available and how easy are they to change?
- Does the unit have additional safety features such as mechanisms to prevent accessories from exceeding maximum speeds, or imbalance detection?
Aside from making sure that all users are properly trained in how to operate the centrifuge and being careful to always properly balance your centrifuge, it is also advisable to keep the centrifuge properly lubricated. Making sure that the o-rings in the centrifuge are lubricated following a cleaning can help ensure proper operation and prevent corrosion and damage. Learn more here.
A common mistake made by novices when loading a centrifuge is to fail to balance the volume of fluid being centrifuged. While most scientists know that the load needs to be balanced, sometimes the volume of the individual samples being put in are different. This is especially true if you forgo precise measurements in favor of a faster visual estimate. Even a small difference in fluid volume can imbalance a centrifuge spinning at high enough speeds. LabManager.com/PRG-2022-centrifuges