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What is an Autoclave?


The autoclave definition is an instrument used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam at 121 °C for around 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the contents. It was invented by Charles Chamberland in 1879, although a precursor known as the steam digester was created by Denis Papin in 1679. The name comes from Greek auto-, ultimately meaning self, and Latin clavis meaning key — a self-locking device.

Autoclaves are widely used in microbiology, medicine, tattooing, body piercing, veterinary science, mycology, dentistry, chiropody and prosthetic fabrication. Many autoclaves vary in size and function depending on the media they are sterilizing.

Typical loads include laboratory glassware, surgical instruments, medical waste, patient care utensils, animal cage bedding, and Lysogeny broth.

A notable growing application of autoclaves is in the pre-disposal treatment and sterilization of waste material, such as pathogenic hospital waste. Machines in this category largely operate under the same principles as the original autoclave in that they are able to neutralize potentially infectious agents by utilizing pressurized steam and superheated water. A new generation of waste converters is capable of achieving the same effect without any pressure vessels to sterilize culture media, rubber material, gowns, dressing, gloves etc. It is particularly useful for materials which cannot withstand the higher temperature of a hot air oven. For all-glass syringes, a hot air oven is a better sterilizing method.

Autoclaves are also widely used to cure composites and in the vulcanization of rubber. The high heat and pressure that autoclaves allow help to ensure that the highest possible physical properties are repetatively attainable. Aerospace and sparmakers (for sailboats in particular) have autoclaves well over 50 feet long, some over 10 feet wide.

In this section of Integris Equipment, you will find many Autoclaves and sterilization equipment.

***For any Autoclaves or Sterilization Equipment not found on the website, please call or email!!***