Precautions while using Centrifuge
these procedures for working with a centrifuge safely.
1. Centrifuge
A centrifuge is a machine designed to separate heavy material from light material. When the substance is a very fine solid in a solution, separating parts of the mixture can be more difficult than a solid. In our case, we will use a centrifuge to separate DNA from a liquid so we can focus just on the DNA. A centrifuge works by spinning the substance at high speed. You have probably seen the trick where you fill a bucket of water about halfway full, spin it around, and watch as the water stays in the bucket. The water is pushed against the bottom of the bucket by what is colloquially known as centrifugal force. Though not a real force, but a reaction to the centripetal force, centrifugal force pushes against the bottom of the bucket. This causes the particles in the solution to clump at the bottom of the tube. That solid clump is called a pellet, and the solution above it is called the supernatant .
2. A laboratory centrifuge
A laboratory centrifuge is a piece of laboratory equipment, driven by a motor, which spins liquid samples at high speed. There are various types of centrifuges, depending on the size and the sample capacity. Like all other centrifuges, laboratory centrifuges work by the sedimentation principle, where the centripetal acceleration is used to separate substances of greater and lesser density.
3. Background
Centrifugation may present two serious hazards: mechanical failure and dispersion of aerosols. This fact sheet describes safety and maintenance procedures to minimize centrifuge hazards. If a centrifuge malfunctions while in operation, turn it off immediately and unplug. If tube breakage occurs, turn centrifuge off immediately. Leave for 30 minutes to reduce the risk of aerosols. The operator should wear proper gloves, remove debris, clean and disinfect centrifuge interior, rotors, safety cups or buckets following the manufacturer s instructions.
4. Centrifuge Safety
Centrifuges can create aerosols and this must be considered with each use. The necessary precautions taken will depend upon what is being used. If hazardous materials such as carcinogens, highly toxic, or infectious agents will be placed in a centrifuge, then precautions must be taken to prevent an exposure of lab personnel to aerosols or liquids.
5. The work surface must be level and firm
Do not use the centrifuge on an uneven or slanted work surface. If a spill has occurred in the centrifuge, hold breath, close the centrifuge lid, turn centrifuge off, and immediately leave the lab. Notify others to evacuate the lab, close the door, post a biohazard spill sign at the lab door. Remove any contaminated protective clothing and place in a biohazard bag. Wash hands and any exposed skin surfaces with soap and water. Seek medical attention as necessary.

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