Reflection: Classroom Setup Centrifugation - Section 3: Methods


Centrifuges are one of the most misunderstood and misused tools in the biotechnology lab. Here are a few tips to ensure the successful and proper use of this potentially dangerous laboratory tool:

1. There may be more than one model of centrifuge in your lab. Be certain to become familiar with each model and the subtle yet important differences in each.

2. Make sure to close the caps on all the tubes to be placed in the microcentrifuge. There are some exceptions to this rule however for the most part you will need to seal the containers. 

3.  The microcentrifuge rotor must always be balanced - for example, you cannot insert only one tube into a microcentrifuge. Spinning in an unbalanced arrangement of tubes can damage the motor of the instrument and potentially cause serious harm to the operator of the centrifuge. 

4.  After the lid and/or metal top (some centrifuges only) is secured, give the tubes a 1-2 second pulse to be certain the centrifuge is properly balanced. You will be able to hear and possibly hear a loud shaking noise if the rotor is unbalanced. This will also mix and pool all the reagents to the bottom of each tube.

5. Do not EVER open the lid until the centrifuge comes to a complete stop and "BEEPS" or other indicator such as the turning off of a light on the centrifuge.

  Classroom Setup: Proper Use of Lab Equipment
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Unit 5: Basic Tools of the Biotechnology Workplace
Lesson 12 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to explore the concepts behind centrifugal force, perform centrifugation with assistance and record important data in a digital, virtual lab-training environment.

Big Idea: Many core biotechnology tools can be used to teach core scientific principles such as in this centrifugation lab where students explore the use of force in a test tube!

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