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How Do You Use An Autoclave?

- Sep 22, 2017 -

An autoclave is essentially just a large steel vessel through which steam or another gas is circulated to sterilize things, perform scientific experiments, or carry out industrial processes. Typically the chambers in autoclaves are cylindrical, because cylinders are better able to withstand extreme pressures than boxes, whose edges become points of weakness that can break. The high-pressure makes them self-sealing (the words "auto" and "clave" mean automatic locking), though for safety reasons most are also sealed manually from outside. Just like on a pressure cooker, a safety valve ensures that the steam pressure cannot build up to a dangerous level.

Autoclaving is a bit like cooking, but as well as keeping an eye on the temperature and the time, the pressure matters too! Safety is all-important. Since you're using high-pressure, high-temperature steam, you have to be especially careful when you open an autoclave that there is no sudden release of pressure that could cause a dangerous steam explosion

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