Laboratory shakers: different types and applications

Laboratory stirrers are electromechanical devices that are commonly used in laboratories to homogeneously mix solutions and suspensions. These are generally made up of a plate, which moves propelled by an electric motor. The sample to be mixed is introduced into a container, which can be a beaker, tube or flask, which is positioned on a vibrating surface.

These equipments are used in the elaboration of chemical products, cosmetics, food, coatings, among others. They are equipment that easily adapt to small spaces and are easy to move from one place to another.

Types of laboratory shakers

Vortex stirrers

They are used to shake test tubes or the like in laboratories. This type of mixer consists of an electric motor with the transmission shaft oriented vertically and attached to a piece of rubber or rubber in the shape of a cup, slightly eccentric, where the tube to be stirred rests. Also, they have suction cup feet at their base to prevent displacement. The stirring speed can be regulated. As the motor rotates, the rubber part oscillates rapidly in a circular motion, facilitating the agitation of the tube. There are different models of vortex agitators, for example, for a continuous speed or to work only when a weak pressure is applied to the rubber.

Orbital shakers

The orbital shaker is a piece of equipment used in laboratories, clinics and others; for mixing, homogenizing and / or preparing combinations of substances. There is a great variety of presentations of these teams and they depend mostly on their size and if their speed is fixed or adjustable. This equipment consists of a time control which can be adjusted according to the need, in the same way some have a speed control which can be adjusted as required. In the upper part there is a platform where the sample holders are placed, which has a non-slip material.

Magnetic stirrers

They are the most used in laboratories and at the same time the safest, because they use stirring bars that can be disinfected. This type of mixer is composed of a plate with a magnet or a series of electro magnets, arranged in a circular shape at the bottom, which create a rotating magnetic field that acts by means of an electric motor controlled by an electronic device.

The (magnetic) stir bar, normally covered with an inert film such as Teflon, is placed inside the container and the beaker or container is placed on top of the plate. Once started, the stirring bar begins to rotate, propelled by the electric motor that moves the magnets. The size and shape of the magnetic bar determine the effectiveness of the stirring process, considering a constant speed. Some models of magnetic stirrers also have a heating system – some reach up to 300ยบC – to heat the samples at the same time as they are stirred.

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