Vortex Mixer



The vortex mixer is a vital piece of equipment commonly found in research laboratories to mix small samples of liquids rapidly. The device was first developed in the 1960s by the Kraft Brothers while being employed by Scientific Industries.  The combination of a small footprint and a high rpm together makes the vortex mixer an absolute necessity in any laboratory.


In general, the vortex mixer is a relatively straightforward gadget, utilized in various fields of bioscience, microbiology, and biochemical research settings. It is also used in analytical research centers to blend small vials of fluids using a rapidly oscillating circular movement. At the point when the movement of the rubber cup holder on the mixer is transmitted to the fluid sample, a vortex is produced. With the device accessible at changeable speeds and the choice of constant and on-demand function, the vortex mixer becomes an unquestionable appliance for any research facility.


Vortex mixers are frequently utilized as a part of scientific laboratories to mix small volumes of liquid for cell disruption or homogenization. These machines whether analog or digital are capable of regulating the speed at which they operate along with the time taken to achieve reproducible outcomes. The device is also equipped to test single or multiple liquid samples simultaneously. The vortex mixers can process test tubes, vials, cylinders, or at times even microplates. The instrument is capable of enduring heavy regular use as it is produced from strong, corrosion-free materials.

Apparatus and Equipment

The vortex mixer itself is a straightforward device and comprises an electric motor with a vertical drive shaft. The hardware is commonly connected to a rubber cup that is somewhat off balance. This compact vortex mixer presents variable speed settings, a quiet and stable operation, in addition to a continuous or touch operation. It consists of a 4mm orbital diameter which ensures a reliable and efficient mixing of samples. The electronic speed control makes certain the chosen speed is sustained throughout the procedure. Simple mixers can accommodate from one to a couple of vials, while more complex multi-tube mixers can accommodate dozens of vials.


The device can operate at a speed of 250 – 2,500 rpm. Typically, the vortex mixer dimensions are 6” x 6″ x 7″ and weigh around 6lbs (2.7kg). The electrical equipment functions on 110V, 60Hz, 60W.  There are a couple of additional accessories available separately which include a universal adapter (ES3362T), a flat head platform pad (ES3362P), and a variety of foam test tube inserts.

Mode of Operation

The variable bypass vaporizers are the most commonly used vaporizers. Their working principle involves splitting the fresh gas flow and saturating a small portion completely with the volatile anesthetic before recombining into the main gas flow. This process is achieved by setting the anesthetic concentration using the control dial and the pressurized chamber of the plenum vaporizers. These devices are also equipped with thermo-compensation capabilities for a steady vaporizer output.


The overall goal of the vortex mixer is to mix various samples of liquids rapidly. The function of the device is achieved through a motor that drives a rubber cup in a circular motion to create a vortex or a spiral flow within the sample. First, place the sample of interest, for example, a test tube, into the rubber piece so that it will also revolve in a circular motion. Most vortex mixers comprise two or four plates and are capable of maintaining several speed options in addition to other programmable features.


When the vortex mixer interacts with the vial and transmits motion, a vortex is created within the vial once it attains a particular level of rotational velocity. This eventually leads to a suspension being produced. It is also possible to slow down the procedure of developing the vortex by operating the vortex mixer at low speeds or RPMs. However, it is not a regular practice as the purpose of the mixer is to create a vortex and mix liquids that cannot be normally combined.


Evaluating a simple way to prevent Sculptra needle clogging

Swift utilized a miniature vortex mixer to produce a homogeneous Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid) suspension, before the injection, to prevent needle clogging. The Sculptra vial was inserted into the vortex mixer, and due to rapid motion, a vortex was generated inside the vial, and eventually, a suspension was created. The amount of needle clogging decreased considerably after usage of the miniature vortex mixer and allowed ease of injection. For instance, around two or three needles were needed for two vials of Sculptra.  Based on the data it was concluded that this new procedure could easily be incorporated into the practice. It will greatly facilitate the injection of Sculptra and vastly enhance the patient’s experience.


Evaluating tissue grinding with ball bearings and vortex mixer for DNA extraction

Colosi et al. presented a rapid technique of grinding plant tissue for extracting DNA samples using a procedure that takes minutes per sample. The sample taken from the plant was collected by using a paper punch which resulted in 6mm diameter leaf discs. These discs were then inserted into a microfuge tube and 4 mm diameter stainless steel ball bearings are placed over the leaf discs. Liquid nitrogen was poured inside the tube and was allowed to boil off resulting in frozen plant tissue and cool ball bearings. The tube was then placed in a Styrofoam holder which insulated the tube and sample and allows them to remain cool. Then the tube was inserted inside a standard vortex mixer and vortexed at maximum velocity for 20 – 60 seconds. After the vortex procedure is done, the ball bearings are removed, and the tube is sealed and stored in a -80°C freezer until DNA is extracted. This technique results in finely ground leaf tissue that yields DNA of high quality and reduces the probability of infection by extraneous DNA since the samples are utilized only one time.


Evaluation of methods for dispersion of Mycoplasma pneumonia (Mpn) aggregates for persistence in vivo

Totten et al. aimed to compare conventional vortex mixing with other procedures for disrupting bacterial aggregates and its outcomes on cell viability. Mycoplasma pneumonia (Mpn) strain UAB PO1 was used for all in vitro studies of dispersion, infections, and in vivo study. A clinical Mpn isolate – strain UAB PO1 – was dispersed with the use of a conventional vortex mixer with or with no nonionic detergent, an ultrasonicator (probe-type), or a repetitive course from a 27-gauge needle. The suspensions that were yielded from the experiment were analyzed for restorable colony-forming units (CFU). Flow cytometric evaluations were performed to study the size of the particle and the reliability of the membrane with the transmembrane potential dye DiBAC4. Wet Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (Wet-STEM) was carried out for high-resolution imaging of the ensuing cell suspensions. Further, Mpn strains and additional human mollicute species were assessed in an identical method. Mice were inoculated with a vortexed UAB PO1 or sonicated UAB PO1. The bacterial perseverance was examined through Mpn-specific 16S qPCR. The data revealed that sonication is preferable to vortexing with or without nonionic detergent or repetitive 27-gauge needle passage for dispersing Mpn aggregates at the same time as protecting cell viability.


The appropriate mixing of specific materials is at times essential, especially when mixing various types of chemicals. The major advantage of the vortex mixer lies in its ability to function as a highly efficient mixing device that accurately and completely mixes a variety of materials at a relatively high speed.


An additional advantage is a fact that the vortex mixer serves as a bench-top liquid mixer utilizing a minimum amount of space and power to function. Also, the device requires a minimum level of specialized skill for its proper operation.


Another feature of the vortex mixer is its high suitability for mixing liquids inside small containers, for instance, test tubes, which will easily handle diverse sizes of test tubes without adjusting or using adapters. Furthermore, the researcher can easily insert or remove the test tubes with the use of a single hand during the operation of the device.


Besides, the vortex mixer can serve as a particularly efficient device for mixing protein-bound iodine with water. It is a rapidly functioning liquid mixing device with an eccentrically built dynamic mounting for collecting one lower end of a laboratory test tube and a moderately static mounting considerably collectively supporting the opposite upper end of the test tube (Kraft et al., 1962).


In addition, the utilization of the table-top laboratory vortex mixers has become universal in microbiological studies, regularly used to mix fluids and re-suspension of cells, including in-vitro and infection studies. Such regular use may clarify the extensive utilization of vortex mixers in in-vitro work along with animal disease models. (Totten et al., 2017).


Furthermore, the vortex mixers are valuable for incubating cultures, since they can produce the exact temperatures required to mix at a wide range of speeds. This is especially valuable for molecular biology methods, for example, enzyme and protein research.


  • The vortex mixer is a vital piece of equipment used to mix small samples of liquids in various research settings rapidly.
  • Vortex mixers are frequently utilized for cell disruption or homogenization.
  • The device can operate at a speed of 250 – 2,500 rpm and weighs around 6lbs.
  • The vortex mixer requires a minimum amount of space and power to function.


  1. Swift, R. (2015). Mini vortex mixer: a simple way to prevent Sculptra needle clogging. Plast Reconstr Surg, 136 (3), 407e – 408e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001523.
  2. Colosi, J. C., & Schaal, B. A. (1993). Tissue grinding with ball bearings and vortex mixer for DNA extraction. Nucleic Acids Res, 21 (4), 1051 – 1052.
  3. Totten, A. H., Xiao, L., Crabb, D. M., Ratliff, A. E., Dybvig, K., Waites, K. B., & Atkinson, T. P. (2017). Shaken or stirred?: Comparison of methods for dispersion of Mycoplasma pneumoniae aggregates for persistence in vivo. J Microbiol Methods, 132, 56 – 62. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2016.11.011.
  4. Kraft, J. A., & Kraft, H. D. (1962). Apparatus for mixing fluent material. Retrieved from http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?PageNum=0&docid=03061280&IDKey=6ABDB3F60107%0D%0A&HomeUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect2%3DPTO1%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526d%3DPALL%2526S1%3D3061280.PN.%2526OS%3DPN%2F3061280%2526RS%3DPN%2F3061280
  5. Next Day Science. (n. d.). Vortex Mixers. Retrieved from https://www.nextdayscience.com/vortex-mixers/
  6. VWR. (n. d.). Vortex Mixers. Retrieved from https://us.vwr.com/store/product/596357/vortex-mixers

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