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What Do Centrifuges Do? — The How and Why of an Essential Machine

Posted by Booth Medical on Jan 14 2020

Whether you're in the healthcare field or a curious patient, you may be wondering what centrifuges do and why they're used. Centrifuges serve a vital function in hospitals everywhere. You may be familiar with their purposes in science labs, but they’re also present in the healthcare field. Without centrifuges, the diagnosis of many conditions wouldn't be possible.

Everything you need to know about centrifuges

Centrifuges are machines that contain a circular vessel that spins at very high speeds. These tools use the sedimentation principle, which means that dense substances move to the outside area, while the less dense substance move to the center. The goal is to separate particles from a liquid mixture. The fast acceleration is the guiding force and what makes the entire process possible.

A common and important use of these machines is to separate the plasma from the rest of the components of blood. This results in the separation of red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. The plasma contains proteins, glucose, carbon dioxide, and other important materials. At the end of the process, the red blood cells should be at the bottom of the container, while the white blood cells and plasma end up on top. The platelets are found in the middle.

Something to keep in mind is that each liquid has a different separating point, similar to boiling points. The separating points express the exact point of pressure that a liquid needs to be at to separate. Also, it’s important to know what volumes you’ll be working with, because this affects the size of centrifuge you’ll need.

Centrifuges allow healthcare professionals to test patients' blood so that they can diagnose earlier rather than later. Having high quality machines that run at high speeds is critical to diagnosing healthcare issues accurately. Booth Medical has a wide range of premium centrifuges to choose from— check out our selection here.