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Machine that applies a sustained centrifugal force. Effectively, the centrifuge substitutes a similar, stronger force for that of gravity. Every centrifuge contains a spinning vessel; there are many configurations, depending on use. A revolving object exerts a force away from the centre of rotation (seeNewton's laws of motion), called the centrifugal force; it is usually stated as so many times gravity or so many G, and may range from a few G for the basket in a home washing machine or an industrial separator to hundreds of thousands of G for centrifuges to separate isotopes of uranium or to purify vaccines.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on centrifuge, visit Britannica.com.