Operating Principles of Centrifugation, continued

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Proper Use and Care of the Medical Laboratory Centrifuge. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Operating Principles of Centrifugation, continued

One example of the practical application of centrifugal force in the clinical laboratory is the spinning of blood in a centrifuge. If one took a tube of freshly drawn blood and placed it vertically in a test-tube rack, it would be quite some time using gravitational force before the cellular components, which are denser than the plasma or serum in which they are suspended, to completely settle to the bottom. However, with the application of centrifugal force you speed up the process. The cellular components are forced to the bottom of the tube in a matter of minutes. In other words, the cellular components “flee from the center” which is what centrifuge means—to flee from the center.