Generally, a centrifuge is used to separate of fluids based on density. It is made from shatterproof plastics like polypropylene or polycarbonate. This time scientists have developed a cheap centrifuge made from paper. This paper made centrifuge is named as Paperfuge.
Paperfuge does not require any electricity to use. It only requires paper, a string, and some elbow grease.
Manu Prakash from Stanford University said, “In a global health context, commercial centrifuges are expensive, bulky and electricity-powered. Thus they constitute a critical bottleneck to manufacture decentralize, battery-free point-of-care diagnostic devices.”
Conventional centrifuge devices are large, heavy, and expensive, and they require electricity to function. They are generally used in hospital or laboratory settings. But they are hard to get to people living in isolated communities, where tropical diseases are prevalent. Without a hospital nearby, doctors aren’t able to quickly and accurately analyze samples, putting these populations at a greater risk of going untreated.
How scientists Developed this Paperfuge?
Scientists first took a cardboard disc and punched two holes in the middle of it. They then threaded a piece of string through each hole. After that, they pulled each end of the strings and the disc will spin desperately in one direction as the strings wind around each other.
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Paperfuge costs 20 cents and weighs just two grams. It consists of two cardboard discs, each 10cm across. One of the discs has two 4cm-long pieces of drinking straw glued to it, along with opposing radii. The ends of the straws are firm with glue and they mimic receptacles for small tubes that contain the blood for centrifugation. Scientists then attached two discs face to face with Velcro by sandwiching the tubes between them.
George Dvorsky said, “To make it work, a circular disc swims by pulling on strings that pass through the center. The Paperfuge works according to the same principle, which the researchers describe as a ‘nonlinear oscillator’.”
“Applying force to the handles unwinds the strings, resulting in rotation of the central disc. Once the strings are completely unwound, they start rewinding. Thus it starts to create a supercoiled structure.”
Scientists noted, “The Paperfuge achieves speeds of 125,000 revolutions per minute [RPM] (and equivalent centrifugal forces of 30,000g), with theoretical limits predicting 1,000,000 RPM.”
“We demonstrate that the Paperfuge can separate pure plasma from whole blood in less than 1.5 [minutes], and isolate malaria parasites in 15 minutes.”
“The simplicity of manufacturing our proposed device will enable immediate mass distribution of a solution urgently needed in the field.“