What Is an Autoclave?

An autoclave is possibly one of the most important devices in the field of medicine. The device is used in this field to boil solutions way above their boiling points to sterilize medical equipments. In the manufacturing sector, an autoclave is used to “cure” some products during the process of manufacturing.

There are numerous types of autoclaves, with the simplest resembling a pressure cooker. The device is often a large pot with a gauge on top and bolts used to fasten the top. The reasoning behind this is that water, for instance, can be heated above its normal boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degree Fahrenheit. In an open or ordinary pot, the boiling point of pure water cannot exceed 1000C or 2120F.

Most medical personnel have small autoclaves in their working stations, which they use to sterilize small batches used autoclave of instruments. The small autoclaves are usually placed on a cart-like mounting. This ensures that they can be easily moved from one station to another. Smallest autoclaves resemble average-size microwaves.

Large medical institutions, on their part, use bigger autoclaves that resemble dishwashers in size. Owing to their large size, these autoclaves can sterilize large batches of surgical instruments in just one cycle. This makes the devices of great demand in operation rooms and emergency stations. Ideally, autoclaves are designed to be one-touch devices. Technicians only need to load them with contents, and then press the start button just once and the machine does the rest. The technician needs not to monitor its performance.

Still in answering the question of what is an autoclave, a brief history of the equipment will be in order. The device was invented in 1978 by Charles Chamberland. By this time, the need to use sterilized equipment in medicine was becoming more of a necessity than an alternative. The equipment, thus, gained popularity at an unprecedented rate because medical personnel were interested in finding other ways of sterilizing instruments besides heating them with fire. Upon acceptance, the equipment became indispensable in laboratories. Today, however, with the introduction of single-use needles and other equipments, autoclaves seem to be losing popularity. This, however, does not mean that they are no longer essential. As a matter of fact, modern hospital emergency stations and operation rooms consider the equipment to be of great necessity.

Someone may ask: what is an autoclave? The best answer to give would be to say that it is a device that has the power to heat solutions beyond their ordinary boiling points. It is mainly used in the medical field and in the manufacturing sector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *