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How fast can you spin a human in a centrifuge?

October 27th, 2011 by Greippi

I was doing some centrifuging today, spinning my bacteria shizzle at 40,000 rpm (185677.44 g). “Wow that’s zoomy and spinny” I thought. It came up in conversation “how fast could you spin a human in a centrifuge?

According to my friend Sophie, a person can survive up to 9 g at constant rotation. The average width of a person is 22 inches, so a ‘rotor’ width of 50 inches would accommodate a person. This adds up to 80 rpm in a person-sized centrifuge.
Humans can withstand higher G forces for a shorter period of time, and 179.8 g is the highest ever survived by a person (David Purley in an F1 crash). Sophie is very clever and interesting.

The original topic came up when I was worrying about breaking the centrifuge. They instil so much terror about it in my department that it’s a real anxiety. I said that if I broke the centrifuge, I’d just hide inside it. It was pointed out “I hope no one turns it on and starts you spinning”.

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