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5 tube balancing argument

John Dixon jpcd0 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Wed Oct 9 10:38:58 EST 1996

At the risk of starting a bandwidth hungry inconsequential argument
(judging by the amount of time spent in our lab jibbering about this), I
would like to ask a simple question:-

Some one here was doing 5 minipreps (equal volume) and was loading a 12
hole microcentrifuge, when he found that the balance tubes had been
cleared away. He was about to fill another sixth tube to balance 3
opposite 3, when I said that you can balance five anyway. This started a
massive debate, which has now come down to three positions. 

I reckoned that if you put three tubes in, in a triangle ie in holes 1,5,9
these are balanced. Then you can balance the two others opposite each
other in holes 2 and 8.

One guy maintains that this is not balanced at all, on the grounds that
you can split the fuge into two halves where one half has two tubes and
the other has three, therefore it must be unbalanced. I am not convinced. 

Then another guy said that he balances five by putting them in as near a
pentagonal position as he can ie 1, 3, 5, 8, 10. I dont think this is OK
because you cannot remove a balanced pair to leave a balanced three,
although I doubt it does much harm.

Are there any centrifuge balancing experts out there?

Apologies for innapropriate use of the newsgroup, but maybe some of us are
trashing our fuges and more importantly several pints are resting on this!

John Dixon                                        Lab 44 (1223) 334131
Wellcome/CRC Institute                            Fax 44 (1223) 334134
Department of Genetics
Cambridge University    
United Kingdom                           e-m: jpcd0 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk

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