centrifugal separation basics

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Centrifugation is a separation process that uses the effect of centrifugal force causing accelerated settling of particles in a solid-liquid mixture.

Two separate phases occur in the centrifugation chamber:

  • a centrifugation base (called sediment). This base does not have a homogenous structure because the particles are graded according to their density;
  • a supernatant liquid (called centrate or centrifugate). This liquid is not always properly clarified (particularly when it contains colloids). It can also comprise two phases when it includes a phase that is lighter than water (oils for instance).
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