A Guide for a Laboratory Centrifuge

Laboratory centrifuge with blood samples

Laboratories need equipment to do their various experiments. One of the most essential is a centrifuge. It is a device that uses a motor to separate components of a liquid substance.

They are significant to many hospitals and other industries that need to extract materials.

It applies the sedimentation principle, which means that it makes denser substances separate using centripetal acceleration. The device spins and produces force to separate particles based on density, size, shape, and viscosity.

The denser particles are forced to move outwards, and the less dense ones move towards the middle. It is effective, especially in extracting substances that are mixed in liquid form. 

Laboratory centrifuges come in different types and sizes. They have different applications and purposes, depending on their power and capacity.


Depending on the intended use, centrifuges may vary. There are also manual and levered ones even if power is a must.


The compact design of a microcentrifuge will allow it to process tubes from 0.2mL to 2.0mL. Some also have adaptors that you can switch to accommodate tubes of different sizes. It is small and takes up less space. Most of the time, they are used for pelleting nucleic acids, pelleting protein solutions, and microfiltration of aqueous samples.

Refrigerated Centrifuge

Samples that need consistent temperature are processed in refrigerated centrifuges. They have to run at great speeds and maintain the required temperature at the same time. Mostly, they are in between -20 degrees Celsius down to -40 degrees Celsius. Mostly, they are for DNA, RNA, PCR, and antibodies. Speed may reach up to 30,000 rounds per minute and force of over 65,000g. They may come in different designs and capacities, or the number of tubes they can hold at a time. Larger ones may have interchangeable rotor chambers and are mostly for yeast cells, erythrocytes, and chloroplast. 

High-Speed Centrifuge

High-speed centrifuges are capable of speeds of 60,000g. They produce great force to collect cellular debris, micro-organisms, organelles, and proteins. Like others, they also come in different sizes and capacities. 

LMC-3000, Laboratory Centrifuge Demonstration


Ultra-centrifuges are designed for laboratory use. They can reach speeds of up to 1,000,000g or 9,800km/s2. Unlike others, it will let the user take advantage of very tiny differences for the separation.

There are two types of ultra-centrifuge. One is preparative ultracentrifuge. It offers a relative centrifugal force of up to 600,000g. They separate particles based on differences in densities and isolate them. They are also used in clarifying suspensions and pellet collection. Mostly, they separate macromolecules and lipoproteins from plasma. You can also get different rotors, so you can use them on different samples, and have different angles and speeds.  

Another type is the analytical ultracentrifuge. It has an optical detection system that uses a scanning visible light. They are for real-time monitoring of samples. Users can easily see the sedimentation process as it happens. The sample concentrates as the device spins, and their components separate. They operate up to 500,000g, and they are mostly for light absorption systems, alternative Schlieren systems, and Rayleigh interferometric systems. 

Centrifuges are mostly used in analyzing sediments. They are, particularly for sedimentation velocity experiments and sedimentation equilibrium experiments. The first one is providing information about the shape, mass, and size of the sediments. It will also need to work with computers and detectors to do that. The latter is for studying the steady-state equilibrium of samples. 

Centrifuge Rotors

There are different types of rotors for various centrifuges. They are for varying functions and processes.

Swinging Bucket Rotors

Swinging bucket rotors have buckets that hold tubes in a vertical position when not in use. As it starts spinning, they swing out horizontally.

Fixed Angle Rotors

The fixed-angle rotors are set to angles. Most of the time, they range from 14 degrees to 40 degrees on the vertical.

Vertical Tube Rotors

Tubes are vertically aligned in the body of the rotor. That applies at all times, even if it is spinning.

Elutriator Rotors

Elutriator rotors contain recesses to hold a single conical-shaped separation chamber. The apex points take place around the axis of rotation, and the bypass chamber which is serving as a counter-balance for the fluid outlet. 

If you are looking for centrifuges, then you should know what you are looking for. Identify what use do you need it for, so you can narrow down the choices. It is easier to search for them in that way. Know the capacity and power you need to effectively extract materials. There are also some aspects that you have to consider to get the best centrifuge that will suit your needs.

Corrosion-free Rotors

Centrifuges in labs are mostly used for biological purposes. If you have that purpose, then you should choose ones that have corrosion-free rotors. They will last longer, and you can make sure that they would not contaminate your samples. That is essential, especially in biological specimens. These motors are most likely made of carbon fiber composites, to achieve overall better results.


When in use, a lot of centrifuges produce noise. It might be a little comfortable, so you should look for ones that are designed to minimize noise production. They are worth the time to find, so do it if ever you have the chance.


Application is significant when looking for a centrifuge. Lots of them are produced for varying purposes, however, if you are into ones that do not need something very specific, then general ones are the best. Check out these if that is what you need.

Type of Rotor

The type of rotor hugely affects the result and application of a centrifuge. There are different types for different purposes. You should know the type of rotor when you are looking for one, and check them depending on your needs. There are also centrifuges that can change rotors, so you can easily switch them out if you want to. 

When looking for a centrifuge, know your purpose, so you can easily identify which ones will work best to suit your needs.