The autoclave machine is an instrument utilized for sterilizing medical instruments. Autoclaves were originally used in hospitals but now are used in pharmaceutical, testing labs and for treating commentated waste.  The autoclave machine is recognized as a very reputable way to sterilize because of its efficiency to kill bacteria.

When was the Autoclave Invented?

The autoclave has a rather short history, however the main idea of sterilization began back in the 1800’s when Louis Pasteur was trying to figure out the solution to spoiling wine, Louis realized that bacteria is killed at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then in 1884 the autoclave was invented by Charles Chamberland, however there was an ancestor to the autoclave known as a steam digester which was basicly a pressure cooker that was invented in the 1600’s by Dennis Papin.


What is an Autoclave Machine Used for?

There are many uses for autoclaves but primarily it gets used to sterilize medical instruments that would otherwise transmit diseases from one patient to another. This means that all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores have to be inactivated by getting processed thru the autoclave.

The autoclave is recognized by the FDA and classified as an article of medical equipment.  Non-medical use (often referred to as “research”) autoclaves are increasingly used in a wide range of education, research, and industrial settings where efficiency, ease-of-use, and flexibility also need to be at a premium.


Who Uses Autoclaves?

Autoclaves are found in many medical settings, laboratories, and other places that need to ensure the sterility of an object. Your dentist would have one and so would your local water department’s testing lab.


How does and Autoclave Machine Work?

Autoclaves work by bringing water to a boiling point, creating steam inside a sealed chamber.  Once the saturated steam reaches between 212F and 220F a thermostatic valve which releases the air inside the chamber during heat up closes, this causes the chamber to pressurize.

A pressured chamber full of saturated steam will have a consistent temperature throughout.  The autoclave will continue to heat the steam until it reaches 250F or 272F (depending on the temperature needed to sterilize the subject matter).  Once the steam reaches these exposure temperatures the autoclave’s heater will cycle on and off until enough time has elapsed to kill the bacteria completely.

What is the future of the Autoclave?

Autoclaves have become indispensable tools/equipment for processing high quality polymer composite aerospace/aircraft structural components [1]. Today, in the aircraft industry, investments in these type of equipment is regarded to be strategically important. Autoclaves are now being used to produce very large aircraft components such as wing and fuselage.

There are other ways to sterilize by means of chemical vapors, and dry heat, but up until today nothing has been able to succumb the failsafe efficient method that saturated steam offers.