A centrifuge uses the principles of centripetal force to separate out different parts of a mixture. Based on what you want to do with your centrifuge, there are 2 main industrial types of centrifuges.
Sedimentation centrifuges are used to separate solid particles from liquids or two liquids of different densities or specific gravities. These centrifuges can include decanter, disk-stack, solid bowl basket, or tubular bowl centrifuges. A sedimentation centrifuge does not separate parts of a mixture based on the size of particles in a mixture or the weight of the components in a mixture but by density. The denser an object is; the more force is required to keep it flying outward along a straight path. So to force the object to spin in a circle, a force is exerted towards the center of rotation. An equal and opposite force is also exerted outward from the center. This force is centripetal force and it is defined as the mass of the object times the acceleration required to keep the object flying in a circular pattern and not outward in a straight line. This process would happen normally in a lot of everyday items. Think of beverages or liquids that need to be shaken before use. They need to be shaken because they settle meaning that different components of the mixture have different densities and separate based on those densities. A centrifuge separates these different components, but does it much faster than what would normally happen with gravity.
Filtering centrifuges use centrifugal force to pass a liquid through a filtering media. This is similar to how a dryer dries clothing. It uses centrifugal force to pass water through perforated metal to dry clothing. The types of centrifuges under this classification primarily include perforated basket, pusher, and peeler centrifuges. These types of centrifuges can separate particles based on their size by forcing the liquids through various sizes of filters instead of containing the mixture in one vessel like a sedimentation centrifuge would. These centrifuges are the most widely used industrially and are used in different processes for a variety of industries such as the ones listed below.
- Wastewater processing - many wastewater treatment plants use centrifuges to quickly separate trap grease, drilling mud, environmental wastewater sludge, and municipal or farm wastewater.
- Chemical production or processing - these industries use centrifuges in the production of acid or salts and oil refinery by products such as polymers or oil- water-solids.
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology – many pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms use centrifuges in the production or testing of manufactured drugs, vaccines, and other medicines and to research things related to microorganisms such as E-coli bacteria and enzymatic waste.
- Fuel and biofuel industries – Whether it is biodiesel, ethanol, or gasoline, fuel and biofuel industries use centrifuges for testing, fuel concentrations and quality control.
- Mining and mineral processing – gold recovery operations typically make use of a centrifuge. Other application for a centrifuge in this industry involve coal, tar sands, copper, other precious metals, kaolin clay, and many other materials.
Centrifuges are used for around 200 specific applications depending on the industry and can vary widely in shape and size depending on what the centrifuge was made to do.
For more information on what centrifuge may fit your needs, please contact us.