The centrifuges: between science and industry

A centrifuge is an apparatus that applies a sustained centrifugal force (that is, a force produced by rotation) to impel matter out of the center of rotation. This principle is used to separate particles in a liquid medium by sedimentation. It is a machine that is used, above all, for the separation of heterogeneous liquid-solid mixtures and liquid mixtures such as insoluble liquids with different specific weights.


The principle and necessity to realize the first centrifugation machine began with the sugar industry, looking for a system capable of concentrating the sugars and eliminating honey during a centrifugation process. In 1848 the first centrifugal machine for sugarcane purification was created, attributed to Shotter and Dubrunfaut, but the patent was granted to David Weston in 1852. The machine was called a centrifugal separator and was built on the Lihue plantation in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In the industrial field, centrifuges were a reality and a trend for mass processes, but in the field of science this element was missing to separate more subtle matters. In 1924 the first centrifuge for scientific laboratories was developed. The creator is Theodor Svedber, a physicist-chemist from the University of Uppsala, from Sweden.

It took years for this invention to develop throughout the world, at first because of skepticism about it. In order to achieve this reality, we worked from 1926 to 1937, measuring the proteins of hemoglobin and nucleic acids. From now on, the medical, physical and chemical fields would never be the same.

What are some of the most common types of centrifuges?

Some centrifuges can be used in a wide variety of applications, while others serve only very specific purposes. The different types of centrifuge are adjusted to the different types of centrifugation: preparative centrifugation, which aims to isolate specific particles, and analytical centrifugation, with which physical properties such as sedimentation rate or molecular weight can be estimated. Thus centrifuges can be divided into two large groups:

1. Analytics: They enable obtaining molecular data: molecular mass, sedimentation coefficient, and so on. They are very expensive and scarce.

2. Preparations: With them the samples are isolated and purified. There are four types: Table, High capacity, High speed, and Ultracentrifuges.

What are the parts of a centrifuge?

Depending on the type of centrifuge machine will be its operation and characteristics, such as the type of rotor it has and the type of sample tube. Its components are: Rotor, Motor, Vacuum Chamber, and Speed, Time and Temperature Control.

Application in the laboratory

The laboratory is one of the most important spaces within the field of sciences, since that is where various experimental tests are carried out that verify the theories developed in the research centers. Within the laboratories, it is necessary to have a large amount of materials and equipment to facilitate the work, and one of these equipment is centrifuges for laboratory, very sophisticated equipment that serves to separate the particles of a homogeneous solution.

Laboratory centrifuges, as mentioned above, are highly sophisticated and specialized equipment that generate rotation movements with the aim of separating the compounds or components that constitute a substance. Thanks to the centrifugal acceleration produced by this modern machine, it is possible to cause the sedimentation of the components of a substance. That is why centrifugal machines are used in several fields, and among the most prominent are the blood analysis laboratories, whose objective is to divide the platelet-rich plasma or blood serum.During the process of working with laboratory centrifuges, it is recommended first of all that only highly trained personnel be found in the area where the work will be carried out, in order to preserve the integrity of the sample, with this same purpose it is essential keep the lid closed while the centrifuge works; In the same way it is indispensable that the surface where the machine is going to work is perfectly leveled.

Kalstein offers centrifuges of the highest technology. That’s why we invite you to take a look at our centrifuges available HERE