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Strauss's avatar

Can a salad spinner be used effectively as a centrifuge?

Asked by Strauss (22225points) March 10th, 2015

(Spoiler alert!) In the recent episode (S1:E18, Once Bitten, Twice Die) of the TV show Scorpion, they use a salad spinner as a centrifuge to separate blood elements in order to produce an antidote to snakebite. Is this feasible? Or is it just “fiction is stranger than truth?”

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6 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, yeah. After all, a salad spinner IS a centrifuge. So if it’s durable enough to add a motor to spin it at 1100–1300 rpm for 15 minutes, then it could work. (The top link in that list is to a downloadable presentation from the Texas Dept. of Health Services –,d.eXY&cad=rjt – that will download if you click it. I did not want to send you directly to a download.) The info window in the Google search gave the speed that I quoted.

I doubt if your household salad spinner turns at rates even approaching that (although it’s not all that fast; it’s just a bit faster than idling speed on your car).

Strauss's avatar

Well, score another one for “suspension of disbelief!”

Darth_Algar's avatar

Probably not terribly feasible, but just plausible enough so they can honestly say they aren’t just making up some bullshit.

Buttonstc's avatar

I saw that episode and wondered the same thing.

However, if Alton Brown were around he would make sure it spun fast enough by hooking it up somehow to a power drill :)

I’ve seen him do it for grinding pepper. Pretty funny but effective. He would fit in perfectly with the Scorpion bunch.

If you want to see his method for ensuring that you don’t burn down your house while trying to deep fry a turkey, head over to YouTube and input his name in Search along with “Turkey Derrick”. You’ll see what I mean. It’s classic Alton and a very Scorpion-like solution (or Rube Goldberg, if you prefer.)


Strauss's avatar

@Buttonstc When “Doc” first mentioned the fact that they had a taco truck, I thought “Happy” t(wo of the Seven Dwarves?) was going to go all MacGyver with a blender. Then they found the salad spinner.

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