Common Applications for a Homogeniser in the Laboratory

Of course, the specific applications for which a homogeniser is likely to be required in a laboratory will depend almost entirely upon the nature of a given lab’s core activities. In a chemical pathology department, for instance, such a device may be used to perform the preliminary emulsification of a stool specimen prior to the extraction and assay of its fat content. Basically, these machines provide a means to reduce the size of the particles present into a mixture and to distribute its various components more uniformly to create what is aptly termed a homogenous mixture or suspension.

The example cited above is just one of many ways in which this type of mechanical treatment can constitute an invaluable step in a wide variety of laboratory and industrial applications. While the equipment used for such purposes today is relatively new, the concept is definitely not. In fact, it can be traced to the use of a pestle and mortar by cooks and alchemists, as a primitive form of homogeniser, in order to arrive at an even mix of spices or chemicals, respectively.

Widely used within both the pharmaceutical and food industries today, the modern devices are powered by electric motors and are manufactured in a wide range of designs and sizes according to their intended use. Among the applications that are most likely to be familiar to the general public is that employed by the dairy industry. Following initial pasteurisation to kill bacteria and to inactivate lipase – which would later denature the fat present – these devices are used to break down the fat globules that remain suspended within the mixture and which would otherwise tend to separate out over time. This crucially important step is responsible for the consistent and stable mixture that we like to add to our tea, coffee, and favourite breakfast cereals – homogenised milk.

In the research lab, uniform samples and procedures are crucial for the consistent performance that is the guarantee of reliable results. This is, therefore, one more situation in which the use of these devices is essential so as to ensure that the often-large numbers of samples required for the various experiments are of identical composition. For very similar reasons that could be crucial to a patient’s health, an equally high degree of consistency is required by the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of medicines.

Among the many other industries that manufacture products dependent upon the degree of uniform composition made possible by an homogeniser, are the cosmetic and automotive sectors. The former must ensure that its perfumes and colognes retain their iconic scents while the manufactures of motor oils need to ensure that the components of their products are perfectly blended and will deliver the promised quality of engine protection consistently.  

For each application, the machine required will tend to vary, and making the correct choice can be crucial. Offering expert guidance and world-class products from leading international manufacturers, IEPSA is an acknowledged leader in the supply of scientific instruments and equipment used for everything from agriculture to zoology. Consult us about your application and let us recommend and supply the best tool for the job, whether it is a hygrometer or a homogeniser.

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