A Vortex Mixer is actually a simple devise found in most laboratories. The phrase “Shaken not Stirred” comes to mind, though not sure how functional this would be for your next cocktail party. All kidding aside, it is designed to mix small vials of liquid. It consists of an electric motor, vertical drive shaft and a rubber cupped piece which is mounted slightly off-center. As the motor runs, the rubber piece oscillates rapidly in a circular motion. When you touch the vial or container to the rubber cup, the motion that is being created is transmitted to your container, creating a “vortex”.
The mixer is commonly found in most bio-science labs. Cell culture and microbiology labs will use the device to suspend cells, whereas a biomedical or analytical lab would use it to mix reagents and assays. The analog vortex mixers have a variable speed control from 300–3200rpm, which allows low rpm startup for gentle shaking or high-speed mixing for vigorous vortexing of samples. Units can be operated in touch mode when depressing the cup head or in a continuous mode.
Muiltitube Vortexers, like the one pictured to the right, are designed to hold up to 50 tubes at one time. The top of the tubes are held securely, while the bottom are allowed to move freely. This vortexer is supplied with a foam rack to accommodate 12mm tubes. There are foam racks for other tube sizes that are readily available as an accessory.