US 2834541 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 13, 1958 A. szEN'r-GYORGYI :TAL 2,834,541
y CENTRIFUGING APPARATUS ANDA SYSTEM Filed Sept. 20, 1956 2 Sheets-Shet 1 BY Jeff# aM QQ Imc/M M ATTORNEY May 13, 1958 A. szENT-GYORGYI TAL 2,834,541
CENTRIFUGING APPARATUS AND SYSTEM Filed Sept. 20. 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 l lNvENToRs v ,44 @ser Jz swr-frown A aJE/fu/M www ATTORNEY IUnited,States Patent4 @nice 2,834,541 CENTRIFUGING APPARATUS AND SYSTEM Albert Szent-Gyorgy, Woods Hole, Mass., and Josef Blum, Norwalk, Conn., assignors to Ivan Sorvall, Inc., Norwalk, Conn., a corporation of New York Application September 20, 1956, Serial No. 610,943
14 Claims. (Cl. 233-26) This invention relates generally to centrifuges and more specically"`to centrifuges adapted to process large vollumes of liquids or suspensions flowing essentially continuously from a suitable source such as a reservoir or the like. v
In some laboratory operations itis desirable to process large volumes of liquid by centrifuging and in such cases conventional centrifuges are inadequate for the reason that the test tubes or containers in)which the liquid is centrifuged are of limited size; and where small masses of precipitates or suspensions are to be recovered from large volumes of liquid, it is often necessary to centrifuge portions of the liquid on a batch basis which is very time consuming as well as laborious. In order to handle the centrifuging'of large volumes of liquids which may produce comparatively small masses of` precipitates, we provide a novel centrifuging system and apparatus whereby large volumes of liquids may be centrifuged essentially continuously from.a reservoir orv the like, and in some l cases, where necessary, the liquids may be recycled through the centrifuge so that va greater amount of precipitate or suspension may beultimately recovered from the liquid.
I An existing method of limited continuous centrifugation embodies a single chamber rotating about its own axis which, though relatively simple in structure, has several serious disadvantages which the present invention overcomes. The centrifuging system and apparatus of the present inventionprovide for the continuous introduction of the liquid into the test tubes -or, containers of the centrifuging rotor where continuous centrifuging action takes place while the effluents from which precipitates have been recovered are continuously and simultaneously Vbeing expelled from the tubes.
The-apparatus herein provides for a method of obtaining a high degree of essentially continuous centrifugation with a large volume of fluid containing a comparatively small volume of suspended matter, while at the same ltime advantage is taken of angle centrifugation for eiliciency, and the utilization of multiple test tubes for the convenient recovery of precipitate. In accomplishing the foregoing, a novel system is provided for distributing thefluid to be centrifugated evenly to themultiple test tubes. Also, the features of the present invention may be adapted to existing conventional centrifuges.
The apparatus of the present invention provides for the centrifugation of larger volumes of liquids than can be conveniently handled by conventional laboratory centrifuges, while a considerable saving in time is realized as "compared with conventional centrifuging systems. Also, the apparatus ofthe present invention permits the collection of precipitates in a volume that is substantially closer to the capacity of the collector test tubesthan is possible -with'other centrifuging apparatus and systems.
2,834,541 Patented May 13, '8
We also provide optional means for collecting the eluents and pumping them into a reservoir for recycling through the centrifuge so that the maximum amount of precipitate may be collected.
According to the present invention which is described as a continuous centrifuge apparatus and system, it is to be understood that the continuance of the centrifuging process is limited only by the precipitate or sediment capacity of the test tubes in the centrifuge rotor, and when said tubes are filled with precipitate, the centrifuging process is discontinued until the filled test tubes are replaced with empty ones so that the centrifuging process may be resumed.
Still other objects and advantages of our invention will be apparent from the specification..
The 'features of novelty which we believe to be characteristic of our invention are set forth herein and will best be understood, both as to their fundamental principles and as to their particular embodiments, by reference to the specification and accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure l is a diagrammatic section View of the continuous centrifuge system and apparatus, some parts being shown in elevation, some parts in phantom outline;
Fig. 2 is a top view of a central portion of the centrifuge rotor showing the manner in which the centrifuging liquid is distributed to the separate test tubes;
Fig. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary View, partly in section, of the feeding system into the rotor and the rdistributing system into each of the rotor test tubes; and
Fig. 4 is a view similar to Fig. l, showing an alternative means for collecting the effluents from the centrifuge rotor, shown in elevation.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, and particularly to Fig. 1, there is shown a stationary support plate 11, in the center of which is located a bearing 12 which rotatably supports vertical rotor `drive shaft 13. Plate 11 has a suitably large top surface area for supporting oor plate 14 secured thereto by means of screws 15, or the like. The outer portions of floor plate 14 are somewhat .lower than its central portion so that any liquids falling ly and are terminated by an inwardly extending annularflange 20. Plate 14 may have circular, square or other suitable dimensions to which the `dimensions of tube 19 are accommodated. A water-tight seal is provided between the periphery of plate 14 and the lower edges of cylinder 19.
Attached securely to shaft 13 near its upper end and rotating therewith is a ring member 21 which supports a centrifuge rotor 22 secured thereto by means of threaded bolts 23. Rotor 22 has a plurality of radial recesses 31 Jbored at an angle therein and arrayed symmetrically around the axial center thereof. Recesses 31, the tops of which are inclined toward the axial center of the rotor, are adapted to accommodate removable receivers or test tubes 32 made of metal, glass, or other suitable material, in which the liquid or suspension is to be centrifuged, and in which the precipitate is collected. Each receptacle or test tube 32 has an exit aperture 33 at or near its upper end which registers with a corresponding exit aperthrough these apertures overow liquids are expelled from 3 tubes 32 into the space formed between cylinder 19 and floor 14.
Inserted into the mouth of each test tube 32 is a stopper 35 having an annular flange 36 extending over the upper edge of the test tube. Extending through the central portion of each stopper 35 is a double curved inlet tube 37 made of glass or metal, the curvature of said inlet tube being arranged in a manner whereby its lower end is positioned vnear or adjacent the outer wall of test tube 32 at some distance below exit aperture 33, and at a distance outward from'the vertical plane intersecting the lower portion of said exit aperture. The reason for this arrangement will lbe explained hereinbelow.
Attached at the upper end of each inlet tube 37 externally of stopper 35, is a baille cup 38 having a lower aperture which communicates with the upper end of inlet tube 37, whereby any liquids received by the baille cup drain downwardly and obliquely into tube 32.
Secured to the top of rotor shaft 13 by means of screw 39 or the like, is a distributor cup 41 having an upwardly extending substantially circular wall 42 and a concave well-floor 43. Circular wall 42 has a plurality of horizontal radially disposed apertures 44, equivalent in number to the number `of test tubes 32 in rotor 22, each of said apertures accommodating a distributor tube 45 which extends toward the open mouth of a corresponding baille cup 38.
It will be noted from Figs. l and 3 that each baffle cup 38 is in the form of a cylinder whose upper end has been truncated at an angle, thereby resulting in walls of varying uneven length, the longest wall dimension being opposite the outer end of distributor tube 45. Thus,
` liquids emerging from tube 45 at centrifugal force will be caught and dellected toward inlet tube 37 by virtue of the outward and downward inclination of said longer outer wall. The shortest inner wall of baflle cup 38 has sufficient length for preventing any overflow of liquid onto the top central surface of the rotor. It is to be understood that baille cups of other suitable shapes or other comparable means may be provided for performing the same function of receiving liquid discharge from the distributor tubes and guiding it into the inlet tubes.
Attached to the vertical post 51 of a convenient laboratory stand, or the like (not shown), by means of a suitable clamp 52, is a vertical feed tube 53 whose lower end may extend some distance below the open end of distributor cup 41. Feed tube 53 may be provided with a suitable valve 54 for adjusting the llow of liquid into distributor cup 41. Feed tube 53 may be connected to a reservoir 55 containing the mass of liquids to be treated by the centrifuge system of the present invention. Where recycling of the liquid etlluents for continued centrifuging is desired, drain tube 17 may be provided with a flexible coupling tube 56 which is connected by means of a pipe line 57 (shown schematically) to reservoir 55. cases a pump 58 may be provided in pipe line 57.
In operation, liquids to be treated by the centrifuge are permitted to drip or flow freely into distributor cup 41. or in some cases at a controlled rate of speed as determined by valve 54. It will be noted that the inner walls 42 of cup 41 are inclined centrally toward the top thereof in order to minimize possible splashing of liquid. ln some embodiments, a reticular mass of fibers, such as steel wool or the like, may be positioned between walls 42 of cup 41 to prevent splashing of the liquid. The liquid falling Ainto the interior of distributor cup 41, while rotor 22 is under high speed rotation, will tlow by centrifugal force upwardly and outwardly along the curved well-floor 43 through distributor tubes 45. By virtue of the centrifugal forces that are exerted, the liquid from well-floor 43 will be substantially equally distributed through distributor tubes 45. The liquid flowing through tubes 45 emerges therefrom by centrifugal force and impinges against the outer wall of respective baille cups 38, from which it descends by both gravity and centrifugal force through In some 1 inlet tubes 37 to be introduced into test tubes 32 which are positioned at an angle relative tothe vertical 'axis of rotor 22.
The foregoing distributing means ensures vthe even distribution of liquids to each of the test tubes whereby possible dangers of rotor inbalance are obviated. The test tubes are set at any suitable angle relative to the vertical axis of the rotor that will provide for optimum speed of centrifugation as determined Iby structural design considerations.
By virtue of the structure and position of inlet tubes 37, the liquid is introduced into each test tube 32 at a point that is a greater radial distance from the axial center of rotor 22 than is exit aperture 33 so that there is'no possibility of the newly introduced liquid emerging from the rotor before it has been snbjected to the centrifuging forces of the rotor. As each tube 32 fills with liquid 61, the centrifugal action causes the mass of liquid to be urged outwardly from the center of the rotor and there is formed a substantially vertical surface wall 62 on the liquid mass as indicated by the arrows representing the centrifugal forces in Fig. l. As more liquid is introduced through tube 37, wall 62 moves inwardly toward the axial center of rotor 22 until it reaches a substantially vertical plane that intersects the lower edge of exit aperture 33 of tube 32, at which point any further addition of liquid into said tube causes said wall to move further inwardly and liquid will flow from tube 32 through exit aperture 33 and through exit aperture 34 of the rotor into the container formed by floor 14 and cylinder 19. Because of the high speed of the rotor, the liquid emerging from exit aperture 34 will be hurled against and deflected by the walls of cylinder 19 and will then descend by gravity to lloor 14 where it is either collected or drained through pipe 17, and in some cases returned again through pipe line 57 to reservoir 55.
The lower end of inlet tube 37 is preferably positioned in contact with an interior wall of its respective receptacle 32 at a suitable location whereby the centrifugal force generated by the spinning rotor causes freshly introduced liquid suspensions to ow directly from the lower end of said tube onto and along the receptacle wall. This smooth flow of liquid suspensions obviates the danger of bruising or otherwise damaging very fragile and delicate cells and tissues, so that they may be subjected to valid examination and analysis after they have been collected in and then removed conveniently from the separate remobable receptacles 32.
Instead of permitting eluents from rotor 22 to be hurled against the walls of cylinder 19, there may be provided, as shown in Fig. 4, ya circular collector battle 65 suspended by suitable means from annular flange 21. Batlle 65 supports a curved trough 66, whose annular edge 67 has an internal diameter that is somewhat smaller than that of the circle described by the outer ends of exit tubes 68 which are connected to respective apertures 34 in rotor 22. In this case, the etlluents will be collected in trough 66 from which they may descend by gravity through aperture 69 communicating with tube 71, from which they may be collected or disposed of, as desired.
In the specification, we have explained the principles of our invention, and the best mode in which we have contemplated applying those principles, so as to distinguish our invention from other inventions; and we have particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed the part,
mode or combination which we claim as our invention or discovery.
While we have shown and described certain preferred embodiments of our invention, it will be understoodV that modifications and changes may be made without departing from the function and scope thereof, as will be clear to those skilled in the art.
1. A centrifuge apparatus comprising ta 'centrifuge rotor, a plurality of separately removable receivers in radial arrayv in said rotor, a distributor cup positioned axially at the top of said rotor, a plurality of distributing means communicating between said distributor cup and each of said respective receivers, an aperture in the outer wall of each of said receivers, a plurality of apertures bored through the outer wall of said rotor and corresponding in number to said first mentioned apertures, the apertures in said receivers registering with corresponding apertures in said rotor. f ,l
2. A centrifuge apparatus comprising a vertical drive shaft, a centrifuge rotor mounted upon said shaft and rotated horizontally thereby, a plurality of oblique recesses in said rotor arrayed radially around said shaft, the upper ends of said recesses being inclined toward said shaft, a centrifuging receptacle removably positioned in each of said recesses, an aperture near the upper end of the outer wall of each of said receptacles, a plurality of apertures bored through the outer walls of said rotor corresponding in number to said rst mentioned apertures and registering therewith to form a plurality of unitary passageways therewith through which effluents may pass from said receptacles, a distributor cup positioned `axially at the top of said rotor for receiving liquids by gravity feed, and a plurality of distributing means in said cup and equal in number to said receptacles for transmitting liquids from said cup by centrifugal force to said receptacles.
3. A centrifuge apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the bottom of said distributor cup is concave in cross section forming a wellfrom which the liquid ows substantially equally into said distributing means.
4. A centrifuge apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said distributing means are arranged to introduce rliquids into said receptacles at a radial distance from said shaft that is greater than the radial distance from said shaft of a vertical plane intersecting the apertures in said receptacles.
5. A centrifuge apparatus according to claim 2 wherem said distributing means each comprise a radially extending tube communicating with the interior of said distributor cup, a baiiie cup mounted on the receptacle for receiving lluid emerging by centrifugal force from the outer end of said tube, and a second tube, the inner end of which communicates with the interior of said baflie cup and the outer end of which communicates with the interior of said receptacle, said outer end being positioned at a greater radial distance from said shaft than the vertical plane intersecting the aperture in said receptacle.
6. A centrifuge apparatus comprising a centrifuge rotor, a plurality of recesses in symmetrical radial array in said rotor, said recesses being positioned at an angle relative to the central axis of the rotor, a test tube positioned in each of said recesses, an aperture near the upper end of each of said test tubes, a plurality of apertures bored through the outer walls of said rotor and registering with corresponding apertures in said test tubes to form unitary passageways through which eiiuents may pass from said test tubes to the exterior of the rotor, a stopper positioned in the mouth of each test tube, an aperture insaid stopper, a curved tube, one end of said tube being inserted into said aperture and the other end of said tube extending downwardly into said test tube, the lower end of said tube being positioned at a greater radial distance from the axial center of the rotor than a vertical plane intersecting the aperture inthe test tube, a baiile cup on each stopper, an aperture in said cup communicating with the interior of the tube connected to said stopper, a distributor cup positioned axially at the top of said rotor for receiving liquids by gravity feed, and a plurality of distributing tubes in said distributor cup equal in number to said baille cups and positioned in relation thereto for `transmitting liquids `from said distributor cup by centrifugal force to'saidbaie cups from which vthe liquid `lis transmitted in turn to the respective test tubes.
7. An apparatus according to claim 6, and further comprising a concave oor in said distributor cup 4from which fluids therein are caused by centrifugal force to be distributed substantially equally into said distributing tubes.
8. An apparatus according to claim 6, and further comprising a circular trough mounted around said rotor for receiving eiuents discharged by centrifugal force from the apertures in said rotor, and a radially extending tube mounted in each of the apertures in said rotor through which the effluents are discharged therefrom, the outer ends of said tubes describing a circle whose diameter is somewhat greater than that of the lower annular edge of said trough.
9. A centrifuge apparatus comprising a vertical drive shaft, la centrifuge rotor mounted upon said shaft and rotated horizontally thereby, a plurality of oblique recesses in said rotor arrayed radially around said shaft, the upper ends of said recesses being inclined toward said shaft, a centrifuging receptacle removably positioned in each of said recesses, an aperture near the upper end of the outer wall of each of said receptacles, a plurality of apertures bored through the outer walls of said rotor corresponding in number to said first mentioned apertures and registering therewith to form a plurality of unitary passageways through which eilluents may pass from said receptacles, a distributor cup positioned axially at the top of said rotor for receiving liquids by gravity feed, a plurality of distributing means in said cup and equal -in number to said receptacles for transmitting liquids Vfrom said cup by centrifugal force to said receptacles, a cup on each receptacle for receiving said transmitted liquids from a corresponding distributing means, a tube connecting each of said receiving cups with the interior of its respective receptacle, the interior end of said tube being positioned adjacent the outer wall of said receptacle and at a point positioned a greater radial distance from the shaft than the position of said first and second mentioned apertures.
l0. A centrifuge system comprising a rotor, a plurality of removable receptacles'positioned obliquely in said rotor, the tops of said receptacles being inclined toward the axial center of said rotor, means for discharging eflluents from each of said receptacles, said discharge means being positioned near the outer upper ends thereof and extending radially through the outer wall of said rotor, a plurality of tubes for continuously distributing suspensions from the axial center of said rotor into each of vsaid receptacles, said suspensions being introduced by said tubes directly into the respective interiors of said receptacles at the outer walls thereof and at points positioned a greater radial distance from the axial center of said rotor than said discharge means.
ll. A centrifuge system comprising a rotor, a plurality of removable receptacles positioned obliquely in said rotor, the tops of saidreceptacles being inclined toward the axial center of Isaid rotor, a tube in each of said re-v ceptacles, the upper end of each tube extending through the mouth of its respective receptacle and adapted to receive liquid suspensions from the central portion of said rotor, the lower end of said tube being positioned adjacent the outer wall of its respective receptacle for introducing said suspension into said receptacle.
l2. A centrifuge system according to claim 11, and further comprising a discharge outlet for each receptacle,l .said discharge outlet being positioned above the lower end of said tube and a shorter radial distance than said lower end from the axial center of said rotor.
13. A centrifuge apparatus comprising a rotor, a plu-,
rality of removable tubular receptacles positioned in radial array in said rotor, said receptacles being inclined toward the center of said rotor, a plurality of inlet tubes for delivering liquid suspensions into said receptacles, the lower end of each tube being in contact with an interior wall which said suspensions are introduced by said tubes into the respective receptacles.y
' rReferences Cited in the le of this patent UNTTED STATES PATENTS Peck June 13, 1893 Rawolle Oct. 4, 1927 Staal Feb. l0, 1953 Allen et al. Jan. 1l, 1955