Laboratory Centrifuge - Theory

Theory

Protocols for centrifugation typically specify the amount of acceleration to be applied to the sample, rather than specifying a rotational speed such as revolutions per minute. The acceleration is often quoted in multiples of g, the acceleration due to gravity at the Earth's surface. This distinction is important because two rotors with different diameters running at the same rotational speed will subject samples to different accelerations.

The acceleration can be calculated as the product of the radius and the square of the angular velocity.

Relative centrifugal force (RCF) is the measurement of the force applied to a sample within a centrifuge. This can be calculated from the speed (RPM) and the rotational radius (cm) using the following calculation.

g = RCF = 0.00001118 × r × N2

where:

g = Relative centrifuge force
r = rotational radius (centimetre, cm)
N = rotating speed (revolutions per minute, r/min)

To avoid having to perform a mathematical calculation every time, one can find nomograms for converting RCF to rpm for a rotor of a given radius. A ruler or other straight edge lined up with the radius on one scale, and the desired RCF on another scale, will point at the correct rpm on the third scale. Example Based on automatic rotor recognition, up to date centrifuges have a button for automatic conversion from RCF to rpm and vice versa.

Read more about this topic:  Laboratory Centrifuge

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