Wednesday, September 17, 2008



* Specialized piece of equipment designed to deliver heat under pressure to a chamber, with the goal of decontaminating or sterilizing the contents of the chamber.

Types of Autoclave

* Front loading (cylindrical chamber or rectangular chamber from 40 litre to 700 litre)
* Top loading (cylindrical chamber from 60 litre to 200 litre)
* Pass through or double-ended (so that load enters in one room and is taken out when autoclaved via other door in an adjoining room). Cylindrical chambers of 150 or 200 litre and rectangular chambers of 350, 450 or 700 litre).
* Most sizes of laboratory autoclaves can be supplied as either electric heating (heats water in the autoclave to produce the steam) or steam heating (live steam introduced from external source)

General Safety Procedures

* Personnel who operate the autoclave must be trained to understand proper packaging, loading, labeling, as well as operation and emergency procedures.
* Always manipulate hot items with a thick glove designed for this purpose.
* At the completion of the cycle, allow the autoclave unit to cool down before opening.
* Then stand back and crack the door slowly so as to allow the excess steam to escape.
* Some older autoclaves have little or no heat shielding.
* Warning signs alerting users to these hot surfaces should be placed next to the autoclave to remind personnel of this hazard. Do not stack or store combustible materials such as cardboard or plastic containers, or flammable liquids next to the autoclave.

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