A Novel Design of Advanced Liquid Centrifuge Using Differentially Rotating Cylinders and Optimized Boundary Conditions

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Advanced Liquid Centrifuge Using Differentially Rotating Cylinders

Princeton Docket # 12-2804

Researchers in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University have designed an advanced liquid centrifuge using differentially rotating cylinders and optimized boundary conditions. The unique design of the cylinders allows for an enhancement of separation efficiency over that of conventional centrifuges rotating at comparable speeds.


The novel design of the advanced centrifugal contactor has an advantageous dual-purpose function combined in a single device: 1) mixing of two or more component fluid substances to produce a uniform mixture or enhance the rate of a chemical reaction, and 2) for the segregation of mixtures of fluids or suspension into separate parts. These two functions can be performed separately depending upon the user’s option. The mixing function includes the processes of injecting a mixture into the centrifuge and extraction of fluids from the device following mixture or separation. Different options based on the geometry of the system, fluid properties and specific rotation speeds, can be chosen by the user. Additionally, asymmetric axial boundary designs allow this system to perform large-scale secondary circulation for mass transport.


It is anticipated that this design can have immediate application to any process where centrifugal separation and/or mixing is desired, for example, in wastewater treatment, separation of mining products, separation in the production of bio-fuels, separation of oil from water, large scale  processing of nuclear fuel, and separation of fluids in the pharmaceutical  and food industries.



·         Wastewater treatment in the industrial, mining, agricultural, and marine industries

·         Separating algae in production of biofuels

·         Processing spent nuclear fuel

·         Pharmaceutical industry

·         Food industry – dairy, etc.


·         Differentially rotatable cylinders allow control over the separation efficiency and level of turbulence in a fluid mixture

·         The same system can be used for turbulent mixing and centrifugal separation of a fluid

·         Does not rely on the formation of Taylor vortices to enhance separation

·         Flow properties and turbulence are optimized for a particular purpose


Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a Collaborative National Center for plasma and fusion science. Its primary mission is to develop the scientific understanding and the key innovations which will lead to an attractive fusion energy source. Associated missions include conducting world-class research along the broad frontier of plasma science and providing the highest quality of scientific education. 



Hantao Ji is Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and a Distinguished Research Fellow at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University. Professor Ji received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1990. He worked at the National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan and the University of Wisconsin – Madison before coming to Princeton in 1995. His research interests include laboratory studies of astrophysical plasma phenomena such as magnetic reconnection, magnetorotational instability, dynamo effects and turbulence, as well as stability and heat transfer of free-surface liquid metal flows for fusion applications.  In 2002 and 2010 he was awarded the Outstanding Mentor and Excellence in Plasma Physics Research by the Department of Energy. He received the Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research from the American Physical Society in 2002. He was also given the Kaul Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research and Technology Development from Princeton University in 2003. He has been a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 2004 and has served numerous committees as either a member or as chair for the U.S. government and professional societies.

Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.



Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762• cw20@princeton.edu

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Hantao Ji
Adam Cohen
Philip Efthimion
Eric Edlund
green tech
Opto-Electronics/ELE ENG
process optimization
wastewater management