That ride at the fair that spins you around until you stick to the walls? The device in your washing machine that spins your clothes around quickly to get the water out of them? Those are centrifuges.

Centrifuges are used mostly in science. In this application, centrifugal force — the force from spinning that moves things away from the center — separates liquids that have different weights. For example, a centrifuge is used to separate blood cells from plasma cells. When the blood is spun in the centrifuge, the heavier plasma cells separate from the lighter blood cells, and can be collected for other uses.

Definitions of centrifuge
  1. noun
    an apparatus that uses centrifugal force to separate particles from a suspension
    synonyms: extractor, separator
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    haematocrit, hematocrit
    a measuring instrument to determine (usually by centrifugation) the relative amounts of corpuscles and plasma in the blood
    a high speed centrifuge used to determine the relative molecular masses of large molecules in high polymers and proteins
    type of:
    apparatus, setup
    equipment designed to serve a specific function
  2. verb
    rotate at very high speed in order to separate the liquids from the solids
    synonyms: centrifugate
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    subject to the action of an ultracentrifuge
    type of:
    stream in jets, of liquids
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