Difference Between Filtration And Centrifugation

Filtration and centrifugation are different processes used to separate mixtures based on their physical properties. Filtration is when solid particles are separated from a liquid or gas mixture using a porous material, such as filter paper, wire mesh, cloth, or sieve. Centrifugation is a process of separating components of a solution by spinning it at high speeds in a centrifuge, using the force created by the spin to separate components based on their density.

What Is Filtration?

Filtration is a process used to separate particles from a liquid or gas using a filter medium. The particles are removed from the fluid by passing through some form of media (such as paper, cloth, sand, gravel, or other porous material) that traps and retains the particles while allowing the filtered liquid or gas to pass through. Filtration is used in many industries, including food processing, brewing and winemaking, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, water treatment and purification, oil refining, and more.

What Is Centrifugation?

Centrifugation is a process of separating components in liquid or suspended particles using centrifugal force. It works by spinning materials at high speeds, which increases the sedimentation rate and causes heavier particles to settle out faster than lighter ones. Centrifugation can separate mixtures of substances like proteins, cells, and other small particles.

Difference Between Filtration And Centrifugation

  • Nature of Operation: Filtration involves the passage of a suspension through a porous medium, while centrifugation separates components in a suspension according to their relative densities.
  • Speed: Centrifugation is much faster than filtration as it uses the centrifugal force generated by rotation to separate components.
  • Particle Size: In filtration, particles more significant than the filter’s pores can not be separated. In centrifugation, particles down to very small sizes (0.001 µm) can be separated.
  • Separation Efficiency: Centrifugation is more efficient than filtration, as it can separate particles with a higher degree of efficiency.
  • Applications: Filtration mainly removes suspended solids from liquids and gases, while centrifugation separates mixtures of different densities in biological and industrial processes. Filtration is also used to clarify liquids, while centrifugation concentrates cells or particles and removes cell debris in biological experiments.
  • Characteristics: Filtration is a process for separating solids of different sizes, usually involving the passage of liquid or gas through a porous material. Centrifugation involves using a rotary device to separate particles according to size and density.
  • Forced used: Filtration involves passing the material through a porous medium, such as filter paper or a membrane, to remove suspended particles. Centrifugation uses centrifugal force to separate different substances from each other by spinning them at high speeds. This causes the particles to separate according to size, shape, density, and viscosity.
  • Function: Filtration is a process that removes suspended particles from a liquid or gas by passing them through a filter medium. This method can purify liquids and gases, remove contaminants, and separate mixtures. On the other hand, centrifugation uses the force of centripetal acceleration to separate particles according to their specific density. This method is commonly used to separate mixtures of liquids or solid particles from a solution.
  • Equipment: Filtration is done with physical equipment like filter paper, a sieve, or a coffee filter. In centrifugation, a centrifuge machine is needed.
  • Purpose: Filtration primarily separates solid particles from a liquid, while centrifugation separates different densities of materials in a mixture.
  • Cost: Filtration is generally cheaper than centrifugation due to its more straightforward setup, but centrifugation can lead to better quality results in some cases.
  • Types: Filtration has three types, hot filtration, cold filtration, and vacuum filtration. Centrifugation also has three types Microcentrifuge, high-speed centrifuges, and ultracentrifugation.


Is centrifugal filtration a form of sedimentation?

No, centrifugal filtration is a form of separation that uses centrifugal force to separate particles. It involves spinning suspended particles in a liquid in a centrifuge and filtering them out. This process differs from sedimentation, which is settling of solid particles due to gravity over time.

Is an industrial centrifuge the same as a hydrocyclon?

No, an industrial centrifuge and a hydrocyclone are two different filtration systems. An industrial centrifugal filter separates solids from liquids by spinning the liquid and forcing the heavier particles to settle at the bottom due to gravity. On the other hand, a hydrocyclone utilizes centrifugal force generated by a spinning fluid to separate materials of different densities based on their rotational movements.

What is the basic principle of centrifugation?

Centrifugation is based on the principle of sedimentation. It relies on centrifugal force to separate particles suspended in a liquid or gas. This force is generated by spinning a tube containing the sample at high speeds in a circular motion.

What is simple filtration?

The simple filtration is a method of separating solid particles from liquids by passing the mixture through a filter. The solid particles are prevented from passing through the filter and remain in the vessel while the liquid passes through. This process can separate mixtures such as water, soil, or blood cells from plasma.


Filtration and centrifugation are two critical processes used in chemistry to separate mixtures. While both processes can be used for the same purpose, filtration is more effective for larger particles, while centrifugation is better suited for smaller particles. The choice of process depends on the type of mixture being separated and the size of the components. Both processes have benefits and drawbacks, so assessing each before deciding which process should be used is essential. Ultimately, both methods are effective in separating mixtures and are essential tools in chemistry. ​

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