Video: Lab Homogenizer Emulsifies the Immiscible

You say you can’t emulsify the immiscible?  Tsk.  With the right equipment such as the CAT X120 hand held lab homogenizer oil, vinegar and water are quickly combined into (you guessed it) a salad dressing.

I ought to know because I did it all by myself as shown in this 105-second video.

Emulsifying is but one of the many tasks that homogenizers perform.   Dissolving, mixing, suspending and particle reduction can be performed in test tubes, flasks or beakers by these versatile laboratory tools.

Homogenizer Components

The CAT X120 lab homogenizer used in the demo can also be mounted on a stand to provide stability.  This is recommended for longer mixing cycles to avoid operator fatigue and possible damage to the sample container.  Mounting stands are definitely recommended for larger models in our lineup.

Other homogenizer components include:

The Drive Motor, which can be likened to a motor on an electric drill.  It is specified based on power in terms of watts and speed.  The X120, for example, operates at 125 watts at 5,000 to 33,000 rpm.  That’s why it is quickly able to mix oil, water and vinegar into the salad dressing.   As another example the X1740 operates at 1700 watts at 2500 to 23,000 rpm.  Motor power does not relate to speed but more to the volume of sample being processed.   To illustrate, our high speed X360 unit operates to 45,000 rpm at 350 watts.

The Shaft Housing, also called a stator tube, is a stainless steel tube that is firmly attached to the drive motor housing.   It is sized to support

The Rotor Shaft, along with associated bearings and seals.  The shaft clicks directly into the drive motor. Rotor shafts come in various diameters and lengths again specified on the nature of what is being processed and its volume.   At the end of this assembly is the

Homogenizer Generator, a two-part mechanism consisting of the rotor attached to the rotor shaft and the stator attached to the shaft housing.   Generator assemblies come in various sizes and are machined to perform specific functions and/or deal with varying viscosities.  They have extremely sharp surfaces and must be handled carefully at all times.

When the homogenizers is operating the rotor blades draw sample up into the stator and violently propel it through the stator slots to perform the desired operation.  As shown in our post on changing generator assemblies reconfiguring the homogenizer for specific functions is easily accomplished using the supplied tools.

Homogenizer Care

Homogenizer shaft assemblies along with the rotors and stators must be cleaned and disinfected/or sterilized to avoid equipment damage and possible contamination of new samples.  Some samples may be slightly corrosive while others that dry inside the shaft housing assembly can damage seals and bearings and possibly destroy the mechanism.  For an in-depth look at this subject check our post on cleaning homogenizer components.

And, of course, you are always welcome to send us your questions or to fill out our homogenizer questionnaire.  We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

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Bob Wilcox

Bob Wilcox has represented CAT Scientific’s family of homogenizers, magnetic stirrers, liquid handling and related laboratory equipment since 2002 when Staufen, Germany-based CAT Ingenieurbüro M. Zipperer GMbH established operations in North America. Bob oversees CAT Scientific laboratory apparatus sales and service organization from the company’s headquarters in Paso Robles, CA. He also is in charge of the parent company’s line of JetCat jet turbines, turboprop, and helicopter power plants for hobbyists’ radio controlled fixed wing and helicopter model aircraft. -- Earlier in Bob’s career he was involved in visual and special effects as well as camera and electronics supervisory responsibilities for the motion picture and television industry.

3 Comments

  1. Thanh Giang on October 6, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Ask quotation for Homogenizer X1000D with complete system including main unit, stand and generator. Sample size is 5L put in beaker

  2. Alfonse on February 21, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Hi,
    I noticed at the end of the video there is a very noticeable top layer that is a different color from the bottom layer looking almost as if the materials were already falling out of solution. Can you tell me approximately how long you should mix to expect such oils to stay in solution?

    I am currently working with extracts in Vegetable Glycerin and have heard of people using these for the same application, but no one can deny that the liquids separate after a short time.

    • Tomas on September 17, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      I cannot even begin to share all of the efforts and methods that I have used in an attempt to have our MMJ extract stay in suspension with VG or any other carrier/base for the matter.. If there is anyone out there that has slayed the beast please let me know .. totally appreciate any imput…

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