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Autoclaves and Sterilizers
Basics of About Autoclaves / Sterilizers
An autoclave is a pressurized apparatus or device that allows for the heating of aqueous solutions to temperatures above water's boiling point . Another definition for an autoclave is a system for heating substances above their respective boiling points; generally used to sterilize surgical instruments or to manufacture chemicals. Autoclaves are used for a variety of purposes, such as in medicine and metallurgy. Autoclaves can also be found in the dental, laboratory, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and veterinary sectors of industry places that need to ensure the sterility of instruments, devices and objects. Other industries and manufacturing processes utilizing autoclaves include glass manufacturing, vulcanizing, waste treatment, composite bonding, cement manufacturing and food processing.
Medical autoclaves use steam to sterilize objects (such as surgical instruments) and other equipment. In other words, all viruses, bacteria, spores and fungi are destroyed or inactivated. As mentioned previously, medical autoclaves are used in hospitals, laboratories, and other areas where the sterility of an object is paramount.
Autoclaves vary in size depending on the application; for instance, one manufacturer produces production and laboratory composite autoclaves that range from 1 foot in diameter by 3 feet long, to 30 feet in diameter by 200 feet long again, depending on the item that is being processed. Autoclave operating conditions include temperatures that can be up to 1500 Degrees Fahrenheit, with pressures up to 2000 pounds per square inch (psi). Most autoclaves include auxiliary systems that include cooling water supply, vacuum supply, and pressurization supply.