You really do not get to appreciate the engineering that goes into the ultracentrifuge1 until you have a rotor failure. While I was a grad student at UT Austin, our SW-65 Ti rotor spilt apart at 65K. It powdered the refrigeration can, pretzeled the stabilizer bar, trashed the temperature probe and speed control, bent the top chamber cover, and put a 3/8-inch gouge in the chamber armor. Yet all that flying metal was contained in the rotor chamber. Five days of labor by the Beckman service rep, and the ultracentrifuge was back up and running. Beckman picked up the repair cost and replaced the rotor under warranty, [as] there was a flaw in the metal body of the rotor.

Lee Tanzer lrtanzer@comcast.net

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