Autoclave - Sterilizing Equipment
An autoclave is a pressure chamber used to carry out industrial processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure different from ambient air pressure. Autoclaves are used in medical applications to perform sterilization and in the chemical industry to cure coatings and vulcanize rubber and for hydrothermal synthesis. They are also used in industrial applications, specially regarding composites, see autoclave (industrial).
Many autoclaves are used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high-pressure saturated steam at 121 °C (249 °F) for around 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the contents. The autoclave was invented by Charles Chamberland in 1879, although a precursor known as the steam digester was created by Denis Papinin 1679. The name comes from Greek auto-, ultimately meaning self, and Latin clavis meaning key, thus a self-locking device.