Basket Centrifuges, also called swinging bucket centrifuges, consist of a basket that rotates around the vertical axis of a machine. As the basket swings around the axis at a high velocity centrifugal force is created in order to separate liquids in a solution or liquids from a solid. During separation, heavier, denser particles tend to drift to the bottom while lighter, less dense particles drift toward the top. The force created can be up to twenty thousand times more powerful than the force of gravity. Centrifuges can be made from metal, metal alloys, plastic and other materials and are normally powered by an electric motor. Basket centrifuges are used in waste water treatment, oil, soil, food and beverage, agricultural and aerospace applications, just to name a few. Basket Centrifuges are the most basic and common type of centrifuge.
Balance is extremely important in basket centrifuges, as the load must be exact and carefully balanced. If the load is not perfectly balanced it could cause extensive damage to the machine or personal injury to the user. The easiest way to understand the way a basket centrifuge works is to think of a spin cycle on a washing machine. The basket inside of the machine spins at such a high speed that the majority of water is pulled out of the materials. The water then travels through the small holes in the inner cylinder, or basket. The basket of the machine is covered with a filtering cloth. When the basket is full, the speed decreases and the solids are scraped from the walls of the machine. Basket centrifuges are used in many different applications. They can be used to isolate molecules in chemistry labs, separate cutting oil from metal chips in machining operations, separate uranium in nuclear power plants, test astronauts at NASA, purify dirty water and churn butter in addition to a variety of other industrial, commercial and residential uses.