Applications of Centrifugation

The process of centrifugation has a wide spectrum of industrial and laboratory-scale applications. Centrifugation is a technique that can be used to separate the dissolved particles in a solution based on their density, size, viscosity, or shape. In this technique, a centrifugal force is applied on the solution in order to separate the highly dense components of the solution for the components that have relatively low densities. A few important applications of centrifugation are listed below.

What are the Applications of Centrifugation?

  • Centrifugation can be employed to separate a mixture of two different miscible liquids.
  • This technique can also be used in order to study and analyze macromolecules and their hydrodynamic properties.
  • Mammalian cells can be purified with the help of a special type of centrifuge.
  • Centrifugation is known to have a vital role in the fractionation of many subcellular organelles. Furthermore, centrifugation is also useful in the fractionation of membrane fractions and membranes.
  • Centrifugation also has applications in the fractionation of membrane vesicles.
  • Chalk can be separated from water with the help of a centrifuge.
  • Skimmed milk is a form of milk that has a lower amount of dissolved fats. Skimmed milk can be obtained from regular milk with the help of the process of centrifugation. Here, the centrifuge serves to separate the fat from the milk, leaving the required skimmed milk behind.
  • Cyclonic separation is an important process that has vital applications in the separation of particles from air flows.
  • Another important application of this technique is in the stabilization and clarification of wine.
  • This technique, in combination with other purification techniques, is extremely helpful while separating proteins. Other techniques that are used include salting out techniques such as ammonium sulfate precipitation.
  • Centrifuges are widely used in the field of forensic chemistry. In this field, the technique is employed for the separation of blood components from blood samples. Furthermore, the technique is also employed in certain laboratories for the separation of urine components from urine samples.
  • Differential centrifugation, a distinct type of centrifugation, is known to have applications in the identification of organelles.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Applications of Centrifugation

What is the principle of centrifugation?

The technique of centrifugation operates using the concept of sedimentation, where the centrifugal force causes denser liquids and particles to travel in the radial direction outwards. Around the same time, objects with relatively low densities are displaced and pushed towards the centre.

List some examples of centrifugation.

Some common examples of centrifugation include:

  • The extraction of fat from milk in order to produce skimmed milk.
  • The removal of water from moist lettuce with the help of a salad spinner.
  • The Spin-drying of water in washing machines in order to remove water from the clothing.
  • The separation of solid blood and urine materials into forensic and testing laboratories.

What are the different types of centrifuges?

Some common types of centrifuges include:

  • Ultra centrifuges
  • Large capacity refrigerated centrifuges
  • Zonal rotors
  • High speed refrigerated centrifuges
  • Small bench centrifuges
  • Fixed axle rotors

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