centrifuge tube

The centrifuge tube, separation essential.

The centrifuge tube is essential today due to the need to perform various analysis tests from body flows. The use of the centrifuge tube is of great importance, due to its versatile functionality to separate, isolate a given sample.

📋 Index of contents
  1. Centrifuge tube what is it?
  2. Centrifuge tube uses
  3. Centrifuge tube function
  4. Characteristic
  5. Types of centrifuge tubes
  6. Centrifugal tube manufacturer

Centrifuge tube what is it?

It is an instrument that functions as a container, container of liquids, solids. They can be made of glass (borosilicate, pyrex, kimax) and plastic (polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonates, polystyrene. They have a graduated scale on the wall of the centrifuge tube. It is used for multiple actions in various research areas.

Widely used in chemistry, biology, clinical care, in industry has many applications. It is designed to withstand the pressures exerted by the centrifuge.

They are manufactured in different shapes and styles, conical base, flat, round. They are small, thin, resistant and cylindrical tubes.
They can be conical tubes with graduation. There are presentations that have a cover others use stoppers.

Centrifuge tube uses

centrifuge tube
centrifuge tube
  1. Separation of suspensions: Centrifugation is often used to separate suspensions into different layers based on density, such as separating blood into its different components (e.g., plasma, red blood cells, and platelets).
  2. Isolation of cells and organelles: Centrifugation is a common method for isolating cells and organelles, such as mitochondria or nuclei, for further study.
  3. Purification of proteins and nucleic acids: Centrifugation can be used to purify proteins and nucleic acids from complex mixtures, such as lysates from cells or tissue.
  4. Preparation of sediment for analysis: Centrifugation is used to prepare sediment for analysis in fields such as geology, environmental science, and agriculture.
  5. Density gradient centrifugation: This technique uses a centrifuge tube containing a gradient of density-separating solutions, such as sucrose or Percoll, to separate particles or cells based on their size and density.
  6. Centrifugal chromatography: Centrifugation can be combined with chromatography to purify proteins, nucleic acids, or other biological molecules.
  7. Microfiltration and ultrafiltration: Centrifugation is used to filter small particles, such as cells or macromolecules, from solutions.
  8. Preparation of samples for analysis: Centrifugation can be used to concentrate and purify samples before analysis, such as before spectroscopy or microscopy analysis.

These are just a few of the many applications of centrifuge tubes in the laboratory. They are an essential tool in many fields, including medical research, biotechnology, and chemical analysis.

Centrifuge tube function

The function of a centrifuge tube is to hold a sample and spin it at high speeds in a centrifuge machine in order to separate its components based on their relative densities. During centrifugation, the tube rotates rapidly, generating a centrifugal force that separates the components of the sample into distinct layers. The different components will settle at different positions within the tube based on their densities, with the denser components settling at the bottom of the tube and the less dense components near the top.

Centrifuge tubes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be made of plastic or glass. Some common shapes include conical or round bottom, and tubes can be closed with screw caps or snap caps. The choice of centrifuge tube depends on the specific application, as different tubes may be better suited for different types of samples or centrifugation conditions.

Once the sample has been separated, the different layers can be harvested by pipetting or by carefully decanting the supernatant (the liquid layer on top) and retaining the pellet (the solid layer at the bottom). This process can be repeated multiple times with fresh solvent or buffer as needed to further purify or concentrate the sample.

In summary, the function of a centrifuge tube is to hold a sample during centrifugation and separate its components based on their relative densities. This allows for the isolation, purification, and concentration of specific components of the sample for further analysis or study.


  • It is like a test tube, cylindrical in shape, with thick walls to give greater resistance to the pressure exerted by the centrifuge, withstands about 6000 RPM and a temperature of 14 ° C. It can be smooth or graduated, glass or plastic. It has two ends, one closed (in a conical shape.
  • For the samples to settle and the other open where the substances are introduced, with a lid or plug as the case may be.
  • They have an edge at their open end.
  • Their sizes are from 1mm to2mm wide and from 10mm to 20mm long.
  • While plastics are airtight, with threads, with pressure adhesion gasket.
  • Some need adapters depending on the type of centrifuge.
  • It has an area for the identification of the sample or labeling of the same
plastic centrifuge tubes
centrifuge tube
  1. Material: Centrifuge tubes are typically made of plastic or glass. Plastic tubes are lightweight and economical, but may not be as durable as glass tubes. Glass tubes are more durable and often preferred for applications requiring high heat resistance or chemical resistance.
  2. Shape: Centrifuge tubes come in a variety of shapes, including round bottom, conical bottom, and tube-shaped. Round bottom tubes are often preferred for pellet formation, while conical bottom tubes are better for sample recovery.
  3. Volume: Centrifuge tubes come in a range of volumes, from small microcentrifuge tubes to large bottles for high-volume samples. The appropriate volume depends on the sample size and the desired concentration.
  4. Closure: Centrifuge tubes can be closed with screw caps or snap caps. Screw caps are often preferred for high-speed centrifugation, as they provide a tighter seal and reduce the risk of leaks. Snap caps are easier to open and close and are often preferred for low-speed centrifugation or for tubes that will not be spun at high speeds.
  5. Transparency: Centrifuge tubes can be transparent or opaque. Transparent tubes allow for easy visual inspection of the sample, while opaque tubes protect light-sensitive samples.
  6. Autoclavability: Some centrifuge tubes can be autoclaved (sterilized using high heat and pressure), which is useful for applications where sterile tubes are required.
  7. Compatibility with centrifuge rotors: Centrifuge tubes must be compatible with the centrifuge rotor being used, as different rotors may have different tube holders and may only accept certain types of tubes.
  8. Resistance to centrifugal force: Centrifuge tubes must be able to withstand high centrifugal forces without breaking or leaking. The maximum speed at which a centrifuge tube can be spun safely depends on its material, shape, and size.

These are some of the key characteristics of centrifuge tubes that are important to consider when selecting the appropriate tube for a specific application.

Types of centrifuge tubes

As we said before there are two types of centrifuge tubes, the glass ones, manufactured with the aim of resisting not to fracture inside the centrifuge as the borosilicate ones, Offer advantages of being reusable, durable.  It also has a chemical thermal resistance with a low level of extraction and those of plastics.

They are made of polyethylene, polypropylene, copolymers, polycarbonates, polystyrene. It comes in already sterilized presentations and provides excellent mechanical resistance. Those who in the same way fulfill the same function. Those made of polycarbonate and polystyrene offer extraordinary optical clarity and are disposable.

In addition, they are made in various colors for the protection of light-sensitive samples. As far as the types are concerned, we have the conical ones. So that the recovery of the samples or sediments is easy after centrifugation. The flat shape and the round, pear-shaped shape. The capacity of the centrifuge tube.

There is a variety of capacity measures among which we have, 2 mm x 40 mm x 10.5 ml- round, 3.5 mm x 63 mm x 11 ml- round. From 4 mm x70 mm x 11 ml- round, 4 mm x 55 mm x 12 ml- round, 5 mm x 75 mm x 12 ml round. Those of 10 mm x 100 mm x 14 ml- conical, 4.5 mm x 75 mm x 12 ml- conical, 20 mm x 152 mm x 17 ml- conical.

  1. Microcentrifuge tubes: These are small tubes with capacities ranging from 0.5 mL to 2.0 mL. They are designed for use in microcentrifuges and are commonly used for preparing small samples for analysis.
  2. Centrifuge tubes: These are larger tubes with capacities ranging from 10 mL to 50 mL. They are designed for use in standard benchtop centrifuges and are commonly used for larger samples or for applications requiring higher speeds.
  3. Round bottom tubes: These tubes have a rounded bottom and are often used for forming pellets. They are commonly used in applications such as cell harvesting, where the goal is to concentrate cells in the bottom of the tube.
  4. Conical bottom tubes: These tubes have a conical shape at the bottom and are often used for sample recovery. The conical shape allows for easy access to the sample and helps to minimize sample loss.
  5. Graduated tubes: These tubes have measurement markings on the side, allowing for accurate measurement of sample volumes. They are commonly used in applications such as mixing or dilution.
  6. Tube-shaped tubes: These tubes are cylindrical in shape and are commonly used in applications where sample volume is not a critical factor.
  7. Sterile tubes: These tubes have been treated to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. They are commonly used in applications where sterile samples are required, such as cell culture or molecular biology.
  8. Pre-filled tubes: These tubes come pre-filled with reagents or other substances, such as buffers or lysis agents. They are commonly used in applications where the convenience of a pre-filled tube is desired.
  9. Vacuum-pressure-resistant tubes: These tubes have a special design that allows them to withstand high vacuum and pressure conditions. They are commonly used in applications such as vacuum filtration or pressure-assisted liquid handling.

These are some of the common types of centrifuge tubes available, and the specific type used will depend on the requirements of the application.

Centrifugal tube manufacturer

Here is a list of some of the leading centrifuge tube manufacturers

  1. Thermo Fisher Scientific - https://www.thermofisher.com/
  2. Sigma-Aldrich (Merck KGaA) - https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/
  3. Eppendorf AG - https://www.eppendorf.com/
  4. Greiner Bio-One International GmbH - https://www.gbo.com/
  5. Corning Incorporated - https://www.corning.com/
  6. VWR International - https://us.vwr.com/
  7. STEMCELL Technologies Inc. - https://www.stemcell.com/
  8. Medline Industries, Inc. - https://www.medline.com/
  9. BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) - https://www.bd.com/
  10. Sarstedt AG & Co. KG - https://www.sarstedt.com/


The centrifuge tube is of great use hence its importance in laboratories, I invite you to consult this writing as many times as you need it, hoping that it has served you.

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Jose Hullgren (Laboratory Analist)

Hello to all readers, my name is Jose Hullgren, it is a pleasure to present you this website of my authorship, I am currently working as a laboratory analyst and for the last 10 years I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry. The main idea of this page is to provide relevant information in the field of the pharmaceutical industry above all. We also cover different areas of chemistry and sciences in general that we find interesting. Perfil Linkedin

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