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What Are Autoclave Sterilizers, Their Types, And Working?

Autoclave sterilizers are used in healthcare and industrial applications. These are also known as steam sterilizers used to kill microorganisms on a particular item. The autoclave sterilizer works under pressure with steam to destroy harmful organisms, including bacteria, spores, and fungi, on the object placed in the sterilizing vessel.

This machine works so that the moisture in its steam transfers the heat to destroy the protein structure of microorganisms to destroy them. The autoclave sterilizer heats the item at an appropriate sterilization temperature for a particular time to kill the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores.

How Does An Autoclave Sterilizer Work?

Autoclave sterilizers are primarily used in the healthcare field to sterilize the devices used in medication. You can buy an autoclave for your lab from online websites by searching for an Autoclave Sterilizer For Sale.

The items are sterilized by placing them inside the pressure vessel or chamber. The three most valuable factors are needed for the successful sterilization of an object. These three factors are temperature, time, and steam quality. For fulfilling these factors, there are three phases that an autoclave sterilization process includes, these are:

Conditioning Phase

The conditioning phase is the first phase of the process of sterilization. In this process, the air is removed from the chamber because it inhibits sterilization, so it is necessary to remove it. First, the air inside the chamber is removed using the vacuum system.

This is done without using the vacuum system, using a series of pressure pulses and steam flushes. There are also gravity-type sterilizers that remove the air by using steam in the chamber, and then it forces the air to get down into the sterilizer drain.

Exposure Phase

The exposure phase is the second phase of the autoclave sterilization process. First, the process enters the exposure phase; the item is adequately sterilized in this phase. Then, the sterilizer’s drain is closed after successfully removing air from the chamber.

Then it starts passing the steam continuously into the chamber by rapidly increasing the temperature and pressure up to a predetermined level. After the process enters the exposure phase, the items in the chamber are held at a sterilization temperature for a stable amount of time required to sterilize the thing.

Exhaust Phase

The exhaust phase is the final step of the autoclave sterilization process. After the sterilization process, the sterilizer drain in the chamber is opened, and steam in the chamber gets removed.

After the item gets sterilized and the moisture is removed, the pressure in the chamber is removed, and the thing inside the chamber is let to dry. Drying the item is also a necessary process that is to be done for the successful sterilization of the item.

Types of Autoclave Sterilizer

There are four types of autoclaves; these are as follows:

Pressure Cooker Type

  • The pressure cooker type autoclave is just like the domestic pressure cooker; these domestic pressure cookers are still used in many parts of the world.
  • It is a modern pressure cooker that consists of a metal chamber and a secure lid made of metal that a rubber gasket can seal.
  • It has components such as a pressure gauge, steam discharge tap, and a safety valve, including the electric immersion heater at the base of the chamber.

Gravity Displacement Type

  • The gravity displacement type of autoclave is most commonly used in laboratories. In addition, it is a cheaper type of autoclave than other autoclaves.
  • The gravity displacement autoclave works to generate the steam inside the chamber via a heating unit. Then this steam is transferred to the chamber to continue the sterilization process.

Positive Pressure Displacement Type

  • The steam is created in a different steam generator passed to the chamber in the positive pressure displacement type autoclave.
  • The positive pressure displacement autoclave is faster than others because steam is generated in seconds.
  • It is the successor of the gravity displacement autoclave.           

Negative Pressure Displacement Type

  • The negative pressure displacement type autoclave consists of a steam generator and a vacuum generator.
  • The steam generator in the autoclave generates the steam, and the vacuum generator pulls out the whole air inside the chamber.
  • It passes the steam into the autoclave for sterilization. This autoclave provides a high-level sterility assurance.
  • These autoclaves are more expensive than other types of autoclaves.

Autoclave Sterilizers make for an integral part of every lab to ensure a safe and secure working space for everyone in the lab. However, before choosing any autoclave for your lab, understand your requirements first. 

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