An Autoclave, also referred to as a Sterilizer, is an instrument used to sterilize equipment and supplies. The process is subjecting the items to high pressure saturated steam at a temperature of 121 °C for approximately 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the content. I found it interesting to learn that this process was invented back in 1879 by Charles Chamberland. Prior to Mr. Chamberland’s inventing the autoclave, there was a device called the Steam Digester. The features of an Autoclave are the ability to sterilize equipment, materials, or liquids without the need for special plumbing or venting. The principles of the process are: Temperature, Pressure and Vacuum.
Applications for the use of Autoclaves include:
- Veterinary Science
There is also an increase in use for tattooing and body piercing establishments. Typical items used in autoclaving include: laboratory glassware, surgical instruments, medical waste and animal cage bedding.
They are also used to cure composites and in the vulcanization of rubber. The high heat and pressure that autoclaves allow, help to ensure that the best possible physical properties are repeatably attainable.
The Autoclaves pictured in this blog are most typical of the ones I have sold. Though they are also used in the aerospace industry and come in sizes 10 foot long and up.