If buffer plates are added to a settling tank, the sinking of any particles stops sooner, and there is a greater surface area onto which they will fall, helping speed up the separation process. In a centrifugal separator, the same basic principle can be applied, and a corresponding increase in effectiveness achieved, by a stack of special discs.
The centrifugal force presses any heavy particles present in the oil outwards against the walls of the separator, whereas any lighter particles tend to follow the liquid phase towards the centre. The disc stack prevents them from doing so, however, making the lighter particles change direction and end up with the heavy particles close to the outer wall.
This makes centrifugal separators an extremely effective way to remove solid particles from many different types of service liquids, as well as separating out different liquid components – all at the same time.