In medical and industrial processes, sterilization is an integral component of safety and health standards. The sterilization process helps to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores that can cause diseases. One of the best sterilization products is an autoclave machine. The autoclave utilizes steam and temperature to sterilize items placed inside the pressure chamber. This article provides critical insights into autoclaves.
What is an Autoclave?
An autoclave is a steam sterilizer machine invented in 1879 by Charles Chamberland, who rationalized the use of steam in an enclosed space to prevent sickness. An autoclave device kills any microbial life present in a load. This process involves exposing a load to a high sterilization temperature for a specified time. Subsequently, the steam moisture destroys the protein structure of microbial organisms. A load is any item used in a laboratory, medical operation room, or food processing facility that requires prior sterilization. Notably, the duration and temperature of an autoclave sterilization cycle depend on the type of load.
How does an Autoclave Operate?
Items are placed inside the autoclave pressure chamber for sterilization. The efficiency of the process depends on the quality of steam, pressure, temperature, and duration. Notably, the best steam should be dry and well saturated. Then the pressure creates high temperatures necessary for destroying microbial elements. Usually, the two standard temperatures for eliminating microbial activity are 121°C and 132°C. Thus, the load is exposed to a constant temperature for a specified duration of time. Ordinarily, the time will vary with the type of item, whether rubber, metallic, plastic, and whether it's wrapped or unwrapped.
The following are the three phases in the autoclave sterilization process:
Conditioning Phase: The conditioning phase involves removing air in the autoclave chamber since it inhibits sterilization. There are several ways of removing the air, including a vacuum system, pressure pulses, and steam flushes. Ultimately, the air in the chamber is displaced into a sterilizer drain.
Exposure Phase: The sterilizer drain closes when all the air is drained out. Then, the pressure and temperature rise as steam continuously gets into the chamber. During the exposure phase, the load is exposed to the sterilization temperature for a fixed duration.
Exhaust Phase: Exhaust is the final sterilization phase in which the sterilizer drain opens to remove the steam. In this way, the autoclave gets depressurized, and the load dries up, ready for use.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Autoclave
Autoclaves are available in the market in different sizes. For instance, you may purchase a countertop autoclave, an immediate-use sterilizer, or a large autoclave machine. Thus, consider the intended use in relation to the autoclave capacity. More so, check whether the items you intend to sterilize are compatible with the autoclave process. The device works with steam and heat-stable items to avoid explosions. Decide whether you want an industrial or medical autoclave since the features may differ. Finally, consider the autoclave prices and keep in mind that the cost varies with the size and type of the machine.
An autoclave is an essential device in healthcare and industrial environments where the sterilization of items is a standard procedure. Essentially, consider the size, purpose, and price when purchasing an autoclave. For more information, contact a local business, such as Revolutionary Science, to learn more.Share