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6 reasons why you might want or need a centrifuge

Last Updated: 06.12.21


Centrifuges use high rotational speeds to separate different materials according to their densities. These devices are common in laboratories, dairy applications, and they are also becoming popular among cooking enthusiasts who prefer a scientific approach to preparing delicious meals.

There are quite a few reasons why you might want to get a centrifuge, from lab work to doing your own experiments to separating different ingredients when cooking.

What is a centrifuge and how does it work?

A centrifuge is a machine that usually has a rotor which uses centripetal acceleration to separate liquids or suspended solids from liquids. These devices have angled drilled holes that are used to place sample tubes. The centrifuge can separate materials and even macromolecules according to their density and sedimentation rate.

By spinning, materials will tend to go towards the outer wall of the tube and settle on the bottom. While initially invented to separate milk and cream in the 19th century, nowadays centrifuges can be found in laboratories all over the world, as well as in many food processing plants.


Use a laboratory centrifuge for experiments

With a quality centrifuge, you can perform a variety of experiments and procedures, from isolating DNA for analysis to separating various cell organelles from cellular extracts and preparing them for study or further tests.

There are lots of models to choose from so you can be sure that you get the proper tool for the job. With a microcentrifuge, you can use tubes between 0.2 and 2 ml and separate various proteins or other macromolecules.

You could also calculate the hematocrit or the percentage of red blood cells in the blood, as well as obtain a complete blood count which can serve various purposes, besides the obvious medical investigative ones.


Get a high-tech device for sophisticated work

For finer analytical work, you can also get an ultracentrifuge. This high-tech device is capable of spinning at higher speeds while also offering many more features for complex laboratory work. These units offer the possibility to monitor samples in real time and observe the separation process and concentration of sediments. You can use an ultracentrifuge to separate even small molecules with sizes of 100 Da to larger ones of up to 10 GDa.

Preparative ultracentrifuges can also be used with gradient solutions in order to obtain different layers containing isolated particles such as lipoproteins or cellular organelles. These devices can be successfully used for a wide range of applications in biochemistry, biology and molecular studies, or polymer science.

While chances are you won’t be able to afford such a device for your home, you can surely do some research on some of the best models on the market and arrange for one to be bought for the university lab.


Improve your cooking

More and more chefs are turning to centrifuges to help them separate or filter different components in various foods. These devices can save a lot of time, as well as enable cooks to obtain different extracts that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise.

Some use centrifuges to separate tomato pulp from liquid and oil. The aromatic oil on top can be used for other purposes or finer dishes. You can easily obtain other aromatic oils from herbs, nuts, and other ingredients that you can use to flavor a huge variety of foods.

You can use this unit to produce a delicious juice from fruits and vegetables in a short amount of time. You can even obtain clear juices from ingredients such as carrots or peas, as you could easily separate the pulp from the liquid and enjoy a fresh cup of juice in no time.

Centrifuges are also appreciated for their predictability, which helps in obtaining quality extracts in a consistent manner. Another advantage is that they don’t take forever as natural settling techniques do, and most procedures usually last no longer than a few minutes.


Make purees and butterfat at home the faster way

Besides experimenting with food and doing crazy things such as creating semi-transparent tomatoes, you can also use a small centrifuge to make purees and butterfat at home. In a short amount of time, you get the pulp of fruits and vegetables settled on the bottom of the recipients and all you need to do is to add spices and a bit of oil, and you’re done.

With a good centrifuge, you can also separate milk from cream and fat and make homemade butterfat of various concentrations to use it for desserts or other dishes.

Benefit from a multipurpose design

While in the old days, a centrifuge had a compact body, a metal rotor, and some basic speed settings, you can now find models that can perform complex operations which can help you shorten centrifuging cycles, or save time through automation.

New models come with high-performance microprocessors which control a wide range of functions. You can benefit from remote operation, or use the internal memory to program spin cycles at various intervals and different settings.

One of the best things about the memory feature is that you won’t have to waste time writing down all your protocol procedures, as the device will be capable of recording and keeping a log of all your work so that you can always access it or transfer it to a computer using a USB cable.


Enjoy easy operation and a sleek design

Despite their ever-growing sophistication, centrifuges are becoming easier to use. They have intuitive interfaces so you can control every function through a few sensitive buttons. Thanks to the automatic locking and unlocking mechanisms, you won’t have to fear a critical failure that could destroy the rotor, damage the centrifuge, or even cause harm to someone.

You can also select between many modes, countdown ranges, spin speeds in rpm, interval durations, etc.

Modern centrifuges aren’t just technologically advanced and easy to use, but also good-looking, with many featuring elegant designs with large LCD displays that can show several parameters clearly. Most models are also quite silent when operating so you won’t be bothered as you go to perform other laboratory tasks while the centrifuge does its job.


Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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