what are the uses of centrifugation

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A centrifuge is a device used in science to separate suspensions by density. The more dense particles separate out and migrate to the bottom of the test tube, while the lighter particles move toward the top. The machine is round, and has holes into which test tubes can be inserted. Then, a lid covers the top of the machine and it can spin using its motor at a very high speed. If someone wanted to separate blood into its components--red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma, they would use a centrifuge. The plasma would be floating on the top because it has the lowest density. It can be used to separate organelles from cells and to isolate nucleic acids. These are some examples of how a centrifuge can be used.

nancy167 | Student

Simple centrifuges are used in chemistry, biology, and biochemistry for isolating and separating suspensions.

Separating cream from whole milk is as follows: The whole milk consists of water and soluble/non-soluble fats and other solids. The heavier cream tends to flow down the centrifuge container according to the centrifugal force applied by the spinning

The centrifuge consists of a motor, usually electric, a shaft attached to the motor, and a hub with places for the material containers to be spun.

Medical laboratories benefit greatly from this device. Blood plasma and serums are procured by spinning the blood tubes in a centrifuge for a set amount of time. Extracting a pure sample of blood serum is important for the testing procedures, as contaminants like free-floating red cells and cold agglutinins can interrupt or cause false reactions in the testing instrument.

Urinalysis in the medical laboratory also finds a great use of the centrifuge. Components of human urine can indicate possible disease, and the only way to detect those identifying components is to spin the urine down in a special tube, and then examine the resulting material at the bottom of the tube with a microscope. The solids within the urine are pulled towards the bottom of the tube by centrifugal force, so the liquid can be poured off, leaving only a button of material to be examined. 
Blood banks need centrifuges that are very large, for large amounts. They deal in blood products that must be separated in great volumes, so giant centrifuges are sued for this. Blood products such as plasma.
Pharmaceutical companies also use vast centrifuges to separate chemicals for analysis and production. The extraction of natural botanicals is necessary for the cosmetic industry as well.

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