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Centrifuges: Separating Mixtures with Force


What are Centrifuges?

Centrifuges are machines that use centrifugal force to separate mixtures. By spinning a mixture at high speeds in a container, centrifuges can separate fluids with different densities, like cream from milk, or separate liquids from solids.

How Centrifuges Work

When a centrifuge spins, it applies a force outward (radially). Denser materials move outward due to this force, while less dense elements move inward. In a lab centrifuge, this force pushes denser particles to settle at the bottom of the tube, while less dense materials rise to the top.


  • Industrial: Large centrifuges are used in manufacturing and waste processing to separate liquids or solids.
  • High-Performance: Ultra-high-speed centrifuges can separate tiny particles and molecules.
  • Specialized: Large centrifuges can simulate high-gravity environments, and medium-sized centrifuges are used in washing machines and some pools. Gas centrifuges separate isotopes for nuclear fuel enrichment.

History of the Centrifuge

The concept of a centrifuge dates back to the 19th century with the invention of a hand-cranked lab centrifuge. The idea of a dairy centrifuge to separate cream from milk was proposed in 1864, and a working machine was developed in 1875.

Types of Centrifuges

Centrifuges are categorized by design or use: Decanter, Basket, Disc Stack, Pusher & Peeler

  • Rotor Design:
    • Fixed-angle: Hold samples at a constant angle.
    • Swinging head: Samples swing outwards during operation.
    • Continuous tubular: No individual sample vessels, for high-volume applications.
  • Intended Use:
    • Laboratory: General-purpose centrifuges for various tasks.
    • Analytical: Designed for specific analysis of molecules.
    • Haematocrit: Measures red blood cell volume in whole blood.
    • Gas: Used for isotope separation in gases.
    • Industrial: Classified based on the separation method.

Filtration vs. Sedimentation Centrifuges

There are two main types of centrifuges:

  • Filtration: These centrifuges use a perforated drum with a filter to separate liquids from solids.
  • Sedimentation: These centrifuges have a solid wall drum and are used to purify suspensions.

Modern Centrifuges

In Case Of An Emergency Breakdown

Centrifuge World is here for you when you have an unexpected breakdown that needs to be resolved quickly. If this is the case Call – 832-338-4990. We are here 24/7 365 and will respond expediently according to your request. Rush Service Repairs are available and ready.

Houston, TX Location

T +1 (800) 208 6075
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7650 County Rd 48 unit C,
Rosharon, TX 77583

Chicago, IL Location

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9212 Cherry Ave,
Franklin Park, IL 60131

Alsip, IL Location

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12340 S Keeler Ave,
Alsip, IL 60803