Autoclave

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An autoclave is a specially designed pressure chamber used to carry out various medical and industrial processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure different from ambient air pressure.

Autoclaves are different from drying ovens.

Design

Autoclaves are devices consisting of a tank, usually cylindrical, constructed from metal, usually galvanized steel or stainless steel, which is strong enough to withstand high temperatures and pressure. A pressure gauge, either mechanical or electronic displays the environment inside the tank, which is controlled externally from a few buttons or a control panel.

Availability

Autoclaves can be purchased from various medical and dentistry suppliers.

DIY autoclave

Pressure cookers can be used as cheap autoclaves, though their low capacity limits the amount of material you can process.

Projects

  • Vulcanize rubber
  • Sterilize lab equipment

Safety

Since autoclaves use high pressure, there is a risk of steam explosion if the locks become damaged or corroded.

Plastics, paper and rubber items cannot be autoclaved.

References

Sciencemadness Library

Relevant Sciencemadness threads