Shakers are laboratory equipment used to mix or stir substances in tubes or flasks, which is mainly used in the fields of chemistry and biology. An orbital shaker has a circular shaking motion and is suitable for culturing microbes and general mixing.
The agitator is the option you want to take when working with large volume substances, or simultaneous agitation is required. They are used for liquids and solids of low density.
The term “laboratory shakers” includes, among others, magnetic, vertical, hand-held and other stirring systems. Automatics have at least two components, a propulsion system and a rod. The propulsion system or engine is responsible for transmitting the movement to the rod and this, in turn, is the piece that transmits the movement of the engine to the environment.
There are various rods for laboratory stirrers
Only the correct combination between the propulsion system and the rod allows an optimal development of laboratory shakers. Due to their different types of construction, the rods generate different flows in the medium and must take into account the different possibilities of the propulsion system. There are rods such as flat blade stirrers, crescent-shaped stirrers, propeller stirrers, turbine stirrers, anchor-type stirrers, and other shapes.
Depending on the medium and the process, laboratory shakers have different functions and possibilities. The beginner laboratory shakers work with a fixed number of revolutions, which are indicated in r.p.m. (revolutions per minute). There are also laboratory ones with different revolution forces (torque).
The torque force indication is displayed in Ncm (Newton centimeters) and there are fixed and freely adjustable torque laboratory stirrers. There are also laboratory shakers that record torque variations and indicate such changes to the user.
There are also laboratory shakers with software that can be remotely controlled and allow processes to be documented. Other criteria for the drive system of laboratory shakers are, for example, space requirements, noise development, safety, reliability and handling.
The main types of agitators are the following:
Magnetic stirrer (with or without heater): It is a metal plate on which a flat-bottomed container is placed that contains the liquid or solution that must be stirred. The stirrer magnet is inserted into it and an electric motor under the plate produces magnetic forces that rotate the magnet, causing the liquid to move in a circular direction. The rotation speed can be controlled. In many cases there is an electric heating system to control the temperature.
Tray agitator: The tray has a circular movement through a motor that controls it. They may also have rocking movements or vibrations. They are used to move cell cultures. Sometimes they have an additional thermostatic control.
Vortex agitator or vortex mixer: The surface on which the container to be shaken is placed is made of rubber, it is placed in a slightly eccentric position and when it rotates it produces vortices in the liquid.
Orbital shaker: They are similar to pan shakers. A platform parallel to the table surface is provided with an eccentric orbital movement.
Roller agitator: A series of closely spaced rollers rotate in a horizontal plane. The tubes, conveniently closed, are placed on the rollers and the liquid slides over their walls. Used in hematology laboratories, with blood samples and anticoagulant.
Vertical agitator: The axis of rotation is vertical. The end that goes into the container with the liquid is finished in paddles. They are similar to a blender.
Stirrers have been superseded for many magnetic purposes, but are still preferred in some situations.
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