You do not want broken glass flying at high speed around in your centrifuge or around your laboratory (yes, it does happen. See Centrifuge Explosions), so it is very important to implement safety procedures for centrifuges.
Each person should understand how to select, load, balance and clean the rotor, sample tubes and centrifuge. These procedures are explained in your instruction manual.
Balance the load
Make sure that all samples have the same weight and are placed in a balancing pattern. A small difference can make a large impact at high speed.
Some newer models have a built-in detection system for any imbalance with an automatic stop.
Sample tubes – misuse or overuse
Sample tubes are consumables and get damaged through wear and tear. Some sample tubes are only suitable for single use or a few uses. Check that the tube you have selected will suit your application and discard any that show signs of discolouration, crazing or scratches.
If a sample tube has a lid, make sure that it is properly assembled and closes properly, according to the instructions.
Rotors – misuse or overuse
The metal is placed under severe stress, so rotors should be discarded after a certain number of uses or a set period of time, according to the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
Inspect rotors for signs of wear and tear or rusting.
"De-rate" used rotors by decreasing the maximum speed based on the amount of use. All operators need to maintain a comprehensive usage log for each rotor.
Materials such as viruses, bacteria and toxic chemicals need to be placed in Bio tubes with special air-tight caps to prevent the development of aerosol formations.
Check the Lid
Before starting, the rotor and lid locking mechanism is should be checked. Most modern centrifuges have can have a lid locking mechanism that will prevent the centrifuge from opening while in operation, but check that it is properly shut before opening.
Handle sample tubes and rotors carefully, to prevent scratching. They should be thoroughly washed, preferably with deionised water and allowed to dry upside down.
Swing out rotors should not be completely immersed in water because the bucket system is difficult to dry. The rotor’s outer surface only can given a protective coat of lanolin polish.
Avoid using a dishwasher if the sample material is not resistant to very high temperatures.
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