What type of mixtures can be separated by centrifugation?

1 Answer
Mar 23, 2014

Centrifugation separates the components of heterogeneous mixtures. These include liquids in liquids, solids in liquids, and solids and liquids in gases.

Centrifugation uses centrifugal force to move dense components to the outside of the container. This causes the solid to settle more rapidly and completely.

Some examples of centrifugation are:

Removing fat from milk to produce skimmed milk
Removing water from wet lettuce in a salad spinner
Separating water from clothes by spin-drying in washing machines
Separating solid components of blood and urine in forensic and research labs

Cyclonic separation is a type of centrifugation. A high speed rotating airflow moves in a spiral pattern from the top of the cyclone to the bottom. Larger particles in the rotating stream have too much inertia to follow the tight curve of the stream. They strike the outside wall and fall to the bottom for removal.


In the home, bagless vacuum cleaners are cyclone separators in disguise. Sawmills use large-scale cyclones remove sawdust from extracted air. Oil refineries use them to separate oils and gases.