Types of Autoclaves and Their Working Principles

An autoclave is a tool that every lab needs to have. Autoclaves are very important because they are used to clean tools and containers used in laboratories.

Autoclaves are tools or steam engines used to sterilize lab equipment after researchers have used them.

Autoclaves aren’t just used in labs. They are also used in places like hospitals to kill dangerous substances in medical waste before it is thrown away and to sterilize medical equipment, so it doesn’t get contaminated.

An autoclave is a closed heater that uses steam at 121 degrees Celsius and 15 pounds of pressure to sterilize things in 15 to 30 minutes.

Microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi can be killed quickly using high-temperature steam.

In the future, no germs or bacteria will be on any of the things used. Without an autoclave, all of the lab equipment could get dirty, affecting how research is done and so on.

Different kinds of autoclaves can be used for other things. Here are the different types of autoclaves and what they are used for.

Based on Capacity

Based on the capacity, autoclaves are divided into three types, including:

1. Gravity Displacement Autoclave

Types of Autoclaves

The air in this autoclave moves because of the force of gravity. The idea behind this autoclave is to use the fact that steam is lighter than air so that the air is below the steam.

A gravity displacement autoclave works by letting steam into the autoclave and pushing air down. The atmosphere is pushed down and out of the bottom of the autoclave as the steam slowly builds up.

Then, the air temperature will rise, and the process of sterilization will happen. This autoclave has a temperature range of 121 to 134 degrees Celsius, reaching in 10 to 30 minutes.

2. High Vacuum Autoclave (Pre-vacuum)

Types of Autoclaves

This type of autoclave is helpful because it has a pump that can eliminate all the air inside. First, the air is taken out of this autoclave for it to work.

The process takes this autoclave about 8 to 10 minutes. Under a vacuum, steam is put into the autoclave, and all of the object’s surface is in contact with the steam. Gradually, the temperature increases, which sterilizes the things in it.

The High Vacuum Autoclave works for 3 to 4 minutes at a temperature of 132-135 degrees Celsius to sterilize lab equipment.

3. Steam Flush Pressure Pulse Autoclave

Types of Autoclaves

A steam flush pressure pulse autoclave is a type of autoclave that uses a repeated series of steam flow or pressure boosts above atmospheric pressure. How long it takes to sterilize something depends on what it is.

By Heat Source

Autoclaves can also be told apart by the way they get their heat. Based on where the heat comes from, there are two types of autoclave:

1. Autoclave with Gas Heater

Types of Autoclaves

This is a manual autoclave because the heating system is still a stove or bunsen with a fire. So it makes sense that the size of the fire in the stove is used to change the temperature and pressure during sterilization.

Also, this autoclave must be carefully watched by hand while being sterilized. This is important to keep the temperature and pressure steady so that they don’t go above or below the limit.

Still, autoclaves with gas heaters are less expensive, have a more straightforward design, and don’t need electricity as a power source.

2. Autoclave with Electric Heating

Types of Autoclaves

This autoclave requires electricity as a heat source. This type includes modern autoclaves and is more sophisticated than autoclaves with gas combustion.

Most autoclaves with electric heaters are equipped with a timer (timer) and a temperature sensor (thermostat).

Therefore, this autoclave does not need to be monitored like an autoclave with a gas heater because the autoclave has a time setting that can be adjusted as needed.

The presence of a thermostat feature can help in setting the temperature automatically. Even so, it turns out that if one of these autoclave components does not work, then the autoclave cannot function properly because each component is interconnected.

By Shape

Autoclaves are available in 2 forms, namely:

1. Pot-Shaped Autoclave

Types of Autoclaves

At first glance, this autoclave looks like a pressure cooker with a hole in the top. This autoclave seems like a long tube and has a lid on the top.

The diameter and height of this autoclave determine how much this autoclave can hold.

Some of these autoclaves heat up with the help of a stove. But some people heat their homes with electricity. Most time and temperature settings are analog or done by hand.

2. Cupboard-Shaped Autoclave

Types of Autoclaves

Modern autoclaves come in the shape of a cupboard and usually open from the front of the top. This autoclave has shelves stacked on each other to make it easy to put things in there that need to be sterilized.

Most of these autoclaves get their heat from electricity. Even cabinet autoclaves come in sizes and shapes, from small to large.

By Place, Type in Product

When viewed from the way of entering the product or object, autoclaves are divided into two types, including:

1. Autoclave Vertical Loading

Types of Autoclaves

The top of this autoclave is where the door is. This type of autoclave is the one that looks like a pan. There is an autoclave in the shape of a pan, but there is also one in the shape of a cupboard with a door that opens from the top.

2. Autoclave Front Loading

Types of Autoclaves

This kind of autoclave has a side door on the front, making it easy to put things inside. Most of these are cabinets that are also autoclaved.

Some of them have glass holes, making it easier to see inside.

These are the different kinds of autoclaves you need to know about. Each autoclave has pros and cons, so it needs to be set up based on how it will be used.