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A Brief History of Centrifuge

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-12-29      Origin: Site

The predecessor of the centrifuge has its origins in the 18th century when British military engineers invented a rotating arm device for determining resistance.

In 1836, the first three-legged centrifuge was invented in Germany, and 1878, Gustaf de Laval of Sweden invented the first cream separator capable of separating the cream from the milk, with a speed of 3,000 r/min. Later on, centrifuges gradually evolved from low to high speeds, and the manufacturing technology was also advancing day by day and was widely used.

In 1924, the Swedish chemists Svedberg and Rinde manufactured the world's first oil turbine ultra-high-speed centrifuge with an optical system with a speed of 45,000rpm. Later, Theodor Svedberg improved the ultracentrifuge so that the maximum speed could reach 75,000 r/min. Using this ultracentrifuge, hemoglobin was separated from blood for the first time, which opened a new chapter in biochemical research. Svedberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1926 for his invention of the ultracentrifuge and its use in the study of highly dispersed colloidal substances. The coefficient of sedimentation commonly used in centrifugal analysis is named after Svedberg. 1 Svedberg = 10-13 seconds.


In 1950, EWiedeman of Switzerland simplified the construction of centrifuges with direct-drive of variable frequency motors; In the late 1970s, the Beckman Company of the United States introduced a direct-drive ultracentrifuge with a variable frequency motor.

In 1958, China began the development of laboratory centrifuges, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences was the first to develop a successful domestic ultracentrifuge in 1975. Through the unremitting efforts of several generations of scientists, China in the field of laboratory centrifuges and ultra-high-speed centrifuges has been comparable to the international first-class level of innovation, breaking the monopoly of foreign countries.


Development to the present, centrifuges in practical applications according to the separation requirements and different structures, designed many types, for example:

Sedimentation centrifuge

(mainly used for purifying suspensions)

Common types: pendulum centrifuge, separator centrifuge (continuous liquid), and tube centrifuge.

Filtration centrifuges

common types: screen/rolling centrifuges, pusher centrifuges, reverse filter centrifuges, and pendulum centrifuges.

Gas centrifuges

(for isotope separation)

Others: e.g. large centrifuges for simulating high gravity or accelerated environments (e.g. high G training for test pilots). Medium-sized centrifuges are used in washing machines and some swimming pools for wringing water out of fabrics, etc.


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