Karolinska human & animal rated centrifuge

Facility’s Capabilities

The facility permits exposure of humans and animals up to 9 times the normal gravity. Subjects can be sitting or supine and subjects or animals be exposed to both positive and negative G in X, Y or Z directions. The relatively large rotational radius warrants a low probability of vestibular (balance) side effects.


In the rotational center and above the centrifuge there is a slip ring system with 50 channels for signal transmission to/from the gondola and/or platform and 10 leads for power supply. Below the slip ring assembly there is a central platform where G-sensitive equipment (for example mass spectrometer for gas analysis) can be placed.

The basic instrumentation of the gondola is a chair (as in a fighter plane) audio and video communication, preamplifiers for ECG, pulse oximetry, and blood and/or airway pressure, an LCD screen in front of the subject , and a light ramp for tests of peripheral vision. The chair can be removed and be replaced with for example a bed for supine subjects. Typical additional experiment – specific equipment that has been used in the gondola are: Portapres/Finapres blood pressure monitor, cycle ergometer, respiratory flow meters and devices for tests of vestibular functions.

The control room is located above the rotational plane and has consoles for operator, test leader, medical supervisor, and 3 assistants. Basic equipment is computer for preprogrammed G profile generation, an audiovisual communication with the gondola and computers for acquisition and display of basic medical (ECG, O2 saturation, blood/airway pressure) and technical data (Gx, Gy, Gz, gas supply pressures).

The whole centrifuge including engine, transmission, control room, and monitoring systems were refurbished 1995-1997.

Technical data

Power system: 427 kW DC engine.
Transmission: Angular gear connected to the engine with a hydraulic release system in case of sudden engine stop.
Rotational radius: 7.2 m
Max G with instruments only 15 G
Max G with human subject 9 G
Max G onset rate: ≈ 5 G/s between 2 and 9 G
G onset rate: Controlled from 0.1 G/s and up
Max payload in gondola: 300 kg

Mode of operation

The centrifuge is normally operated daily. A typical yearly cycle is 40 weeks of effective use for tests, 5-7 weeks of yearly preventive maintenance and 5-7 weeks of holidays/vacations for the key personnel. A typical user cycle is one week of experiment
- specific installations and safety verification, 4 weeks of 5 days per week experiments and one week of tear down and preparation for next user. For use with standard equipment only, however, the set-up time is only a few hours of routine safety checks.


Karolinska Institutet
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Section of Environmental Physiology
Berzelius väg 13
SE-171 77 Stockholm-Solna, Sweden


Ownership since 1993 is the Swedish Defence Material Administration, but the ownership will be changed to Karolinska Institutet on July 1, 2004.

The present contract guarantees that Karolinska Institutet has exclusive access for its own researchers or external guest researchers during 30 % of the user time per year. Also more than 30 % can be obtained, if a larger corresponding fraction of the operational costs is paid by Karolinska Institutet or an external user. After July 1, 2004 user time will be negotiated on a yearly basis according to experimental needs and economic resources. Typically we expect 30 % Karolinska Institutet, 30 % external guests and 40 % Swedish Defence Research Agency, who have established a laboratory in the same building.

It is agreed between the present users that external users as selected by ESA and bringing the appropriate funding (themselves or from ESA) can use at least 50 % of the yearly capacity and receive full technical support.

Contact person/address

Professor Dag Linnarsson
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Section of Environmental Physiology
Berzelius väg 13
SE-171 77 Stockholm-Solna, Sweden

Reference literature

Malin Rohdin and Dag Linnarsson. Differential changes of lung diffusing capacity and tissue volume in hypergravity. J Appl Physiol 93:935, 2002
M. Rohdin, D. Linnarsson:  Differential changes to lung diffusing capacity and tissue volume in hypergravity

M. Rohdin, J. Petersson, M. Mure, R.W. Glenny, S.G.E. Lindahl and D. Linnarsson. Protective effect of prone posture against hypergravity-induced arterial hypoxaemia in humans. J Physiol (2003), 548.2, pp. 5865-591
Protective effect of prone posture against hypergravity-induced arterial hypoxaemia in humans

Last update: 23 January 2012

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