Magnetic Stirrers – The Unsung Hero of Your Laboratory

M26 Magnetic Stirrer SystemFor thousands of research and product development laboratories, the most essential piece of equipment is also one of the most underrated – the magnetic stirrer. This often overlooked workhorse is used in a wide array of processing, medical and chemical applications and is the foundation of many laboratories. Since its original design in 1917, magnetic stirrers have altered the efficiency and productivity of laboratories throughout the world. These compact benchtop units streamline production while simultaneously delivering a more sterile, accurate and efficient outcome to both simple and complex solutions.

CAT Scientific Magnetic Stirrer | A Solution for Simplicity and Efficiency
CAT Scientific offers a complete range of microprocessor-controlled magnetic stirrers. Although these components come in a variety of sizes based upon their intended use, each stirrer is founded upon the basic principles that have been called upon for decades. Much as its name suggests, magnetic stirrers thoroughly mix solutions by submerging a stir bar, also known as a flea, into the vessel. The rotating field is created in one of two fashions: a rotating magnet or by a set of stationary electromagnets. When activated, the magnetic waves cause the stir bar to swiftly rotate.

Along with stirring, our units heat solutions through a microprocessor control unit to precisely elevate temperatures. A major benefit of magnetic stirrers is its ability to rapidly heat solutions, which reduces waiting times and significantly speeds up experiments and production. These units also contain a four-step timer system. This allows researchers to establish precise temperature and stirring profiles based upon solutions or batches. Temperatures are monitored via a platinum temperature probe. A typical setup involves a pt100 probe inserted into the vessel and connected at its base.

Once the CAT magnetic stirrer is activated, the rotating magnet found at the base of unit causes the flea magnet in the vessel to spin. Our advanced spin-control sensors closely monitors motor speed for maximum immersion of solution compounds. For example, when activated the rotation speeds are relatively slow to avoid splashing, then speeds are smoothly accelerated until the desired stirring speed is reached.

A primary advantage of magnetic stirrers when compared to conventional mixing systems is its ability to retain sterility within the sample vessel. Fleas are chemically inert, which inhibits sample contamination. Moreover, the cleaning and disinfecting process of fleas is significantly faster and easier than mixing tools with more complex configurations.

While magnetic stirrers are ideal for a wide array of processing and experimental productions, they do feature limitations. For example, when used with high viscous liquids the stirring action is impaired and may not offer appropriate immersion.

Understanding Magnetic Stirrer Components | The Temperature Probe

For many applications, the pt100 temperature probe serves an array of functions. Most notably is its responsibility for monitoring magnetic stirrer operation. The probe is electronically connected to the stirrer microprocessor control unit. Through its continual monitoring, the probe delivers precise control and feedback regarding sample temperature. This is imperative when dealing with sensitive compounds where inaccurate temperature delivery means the difference between success and failure.

This essential magnetic stirrer component also serves as a potent safety monitor. Should temperatures within the vessel drop too swiftly, which can result in a broken container, the probe automatically shuts down equipment. Temperature probes are also simple to utilize. They may be simply placed in the vessel or set-up in a fixed position via the optional probe clamp assembly.

The Brain of the Operation | Intuitive Magnetic Stirrer Control Panel

The control panel for a CAT Scientific control panel can dramatically vary based upon model. For this example, we’ll discuss the CAT MCS78 Magnetic Stirrer control panel. Operation is streamlined by utilizing up and down keys found on the LED keypad control panel. Options include:

  • Power Off/On
  • Heating Plate Off/On
  • Magnet Motor Off/On
  • Plate Temperature
  • Motor RPM
  • Probe Temperature – Set Temperature and Actual Temperature is Displayed
  • Safety Temperature – Shuts Down the Unit When Temperatures Exceed Designated Point
  • Ramp – Accurately Controls Heat Application
  • Operation Timer – Displayed in Days/Hours/Minutes

All magnetic stirrers clearly display operation parameters within its user manual.

Maintaining Records | A Streamlined Method for Archiving Data

Access to operation data is imperative when comparing experiments. Full control and documentation of operation parameters (temperature, motor speed, switch-off time) is accessible via an RS232 Interface that is linked to designated printers or computers.

CAT Scientific is dedicated to our customers. If you have any questions regarding the types and uses of CAT Magnetic Stirrers, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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  1. joy on April 12, 2015 at 5:38 am

    how does the volume of a solution heated by a stir hot plate affect the actual temperature of the solution

    • ry on January 31, 2016 at 6:36 am

      the more liquid there is the longer it will take for the heat from the hot plate to spread throughout the whole solution.

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