- Chamber Volume: 16L
- Max Pressure: 29 PSI / 2 Bar
- Chamber Dimensions: 12.6 x 16.4 in (17 x 31 cm)
- Exterior Dimensions: 25 x 25 x 22 in (51 x 34 x 33 cm)
- Weight: 89 lbs (40 kg)
- Electrical: 115 or 230V, 50-60Hz
- Power: 1600W
- Warranty: 1 Year
A research autoclave is a sterilizing device used to destroy microorganisms and potential pathogens in research samples and equipment. The samples or instruments to be sterilized are subjected to high pressure saturated steam at 121°C for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of contents and load. It is usually used in the laboratory to sterilize surgical equipment, instruments, pharmaceutical items, culture media, and other laboratory materials. The equipment can sterilize solids, hollows, liquids, and materials of various shapes and sizes. Research autoclaves vary in size, shape, and functionality. The choice of the appropriate autoclave depends on the experimental needs and laboratory requirements.
The introduction of the research autoclaves is credited to Charles Chamberland, a colleague of Pasteur, who invented the autoclave to meet Pasteur’s need for sterilization that utilized temperatures higher than 100oC. The instrument was developed between 1876 and the 1880s. Chamberland’s work was furthered by Professor Von Bergmann of Berlin (1885) who introduced steam sterilization. After some years, pressurized steam sterilization was developed to kill resistant spores and pathogens. Since then, the research autoclave has become an essential instrument in biomedical science to ensure contamination-free research.
Apparatus and Equipment
The research autoclave consists of a central chamber box that holds the loaded materials to be sterilized. The instrument is operated by a number of controls to adjust the parameters such as temperature and pressure. A safety valve is constructed on the autoclave to prevent excess pressure build-up. A steam generator is a water heating unit in the chamber to create steam and pressure. Before discharging the wastewater, the water is cooled by the cooling system to prevent damage to the facility’s sewer system. Some autoclaves are also equipped with a vacuum system to remove air before steam injection.
Autoclave makes use of high temperature (121 °C), and high-pressure steam (15 psi) for 30 minutes to ensure decontamination. Microorganisms are killed by dehydrating the cells under severe conditions. Samples and instruments are decontaminated depending on the nature of the load. For dry solid materials, a faster exhaust cycle is achieved. However, the slow exhaust is required for liquid and biological waste to avoid boiling. Indicator tapes validate the effectiveness of autoclaving. These indicators use heat-sensitive chemical markings to show temperature requirements (121 °C). A change in the tape color implies an effective autoclaving, whereas no change indicates incomplete or no decontamination.
1. Wear proper gloves, safety glasses, and a lab coat.
2. Material preparation
- For liquid samples, half fill the tubes and lose the caps.
- Do not fill the containers over 2/3 with the cap fully tightened.
- Inspect the tubes and containers for cracks. If there are cracks, dispose of glassware in a proper receptacle. Never autoclave a known broken glass vessel.
- Package the material for autoclaving
- Clean the drain before loading it.
- While loading, do not touch the bags on the interior walls of the autoclave.
- Close the door of the autoclave machine firmly.
4. Set the temperature at 121 °C and maintain the pressure of 15 psi and turn the autoclave ON.
- Wear proper gloves and a safety coat.
- Make sure that the temperature and pressure have returned to a safe range.
- Carefully open the door by standing behind it to release any leftover steam.
- Let the loaded material set for 10 minutes to release trapped hot air.
- Cool the material to room temperature before transporting it to the research area.
- Record the details of the loaded materials and autoclave conditions in the laboratory log
Autoclaves are widely used in biomedical research for sterilization purposes. It has a wide array of applications in research fields including microbiology, plant physiology, virology, and many others. Hospitals and clinics use the autoclaves to sterilize the instruments before reuse. Scientists also sterilize their equipment to decontaminate and achieve purity in chemical reactions or cultures grown for research. Autoclaves are also used to decontaminate the waste materials before discharge. This not only purifies the waste from bacteria and viruses but also softens some materials, such as plastics to decrease the waste volume. In industries, autoclaves are used for particular purposes such as curing composite materials or growing crystals. Research autoclaves offer a wide range of applications to ensure decontamination and purity in experiments and laboratory studies.
- Wear proper gloves, glasses, shoes, and a coat before operating the autoclave.
- Do not autoclave reactive, flammable, toxic, corrosive, or radioactive materials.
- Do not seal the containers containing materials to prevent the risk of explosion under high pressure.
- Do not superheat the liquids.
- Do not stand in front of the door while opening it.