What is a Nutating Shaker?

Lab mixing instruments tend to mix solutions using mechanical agitation, via stirring, rocking, rotating, shaking or by vortex formation. Whilst this method works well for simple solutions, complex (multi-phase) solutions may need a more complicated method to ensure the mixture is homogenized.

Complex solutions include those that have constituents of different densities, fluids that will not mix into one another, or particles which may fall out of the mobile phase under gravity. These solutions will not be effectively mixed if the method used is purely two dimensional. For example, the swirling of an un-mixed solution around an orbital axis is mostly limited to two dimensions.

Shaking is one of the oldest and most popular ways of mixing in the lab, namely because it is effective and can be carried out by hand using a sealed flask. As automation of lab processes has become more widespread, mixing by hand has become impractical as it takes too much work.

Instead, automated systems which try to emulate the physical motion that occurs during shaking have been developed, however these systems are limited in terms of the directions they can travel in.

Outlining Nutating Shakers: 3D Mixing Systems

A nutating shaker combines the functionalities of a vigorous laboratory shaker with an added circular rocking motion. The result is that samples are shaken whilst also being oscillated around a central axis – this means that agitation of the solution occurs in 3D, resulting in mixing down both the horizontal and vertical axes.

3D mixing systems tend to either work with small solution volumes or they take up a lot of space. Benchtop mixing systems exist however can mostly only work with a small number of containers due to size limitations on their oscillating platform. Whereas floor systems can be used to run more samples but take up significantly more lab space.

The nutating shaker provided by Glas-Col means compromising between sample volumes and space for the mixer is no longer necessary. Their nutating shaker can simultaneously mix four 2 L funnels (with a maximum load of 40 lbs) from the benchtop.

This economical, one-of-a-kind mixer has a Lazy Susan turntable design, allowing the platform to be rotated through a full 360° for easy loading and unloading, with the mixing system positioned within a fume hood.

Glas-Col’s nutating shaker is a mid-range system for comprehensive mixing that runs using a continuous-duty 1/5-HP motor that can work at speeds of 10 – 170 rpm.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Glas-Col.

For more information on this source, please visit Glas-Col.

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