What are the Uses of a Steam Autoclave?
By dewi susanti
Steam autoclave treatment is a process that involves the right combination of heat, pressure and moisture to completely inactivate all microorganisms.
Moreover, steam autoclaves are built with a solid metal chamber, which is capable of resisting very high temperature or pressure. There are different types of autoclaves such as the prevacuum and gravity displacement. Moreover, these devices vary in size such as a small or benchtop model and larger varieties that are often used in commercial applications. Large autoclaves are used to treat tons of waste in each cycle, which make them useful in various industries.
What Affects the Effectiveness of Steam Autoclave Treatment
Several factors have an impact to the results obtained in using steam autoclaves. Among these factors are the pressure and temperature, the size and composition of the waste, amount of steam penetrated, orientation and packaging of the waste loaded in the autoclave.
In most cases, autoclaves operate best when the temperature obtained at the waste load reaches about 121 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, quality results are attained when there is adequate steam penetrated in the waste load that is exposed under high pressure.
What are the Types of Wastes Treated by Steam Autoclaving?
Autoclaving is suitable for treating various types of wastes. However, it is not advisable to be used on certain wastes such as contaminated animal carcasses and body parts. These waste items are quite dense, and this feature prevents adequate steam from penetrating well in them. Thus, they are excluded from the list of wastes that may be treated by steam autoclaving.
What are the Functions of Steam Autoclave?
Autoclaves are generally used in a wide range of fields such as in dentistry, medicine, microbiology, veterinary science, fabrication of prosthetics, and mycology. These devices are used in vulcanising rubber and curing composites, depending on what the industry requires. Hence, the size and function vary, which depend largely on the item that needs to be sterilized. Generally, the high pressure and temperature applied in autoclaves ensure the that only the best and attainable physical properties are obtained.
In laboratories or medical settings, autoclaves are used to achieve the tool’s sterility. This is very important since most medical procedures nowadays involve the application of reusable and sterilizable items such as needle holders, forceps, scalpel handles, and hypodermic needles. Disinfecting and sterilizing these items are essential to prevent contamination or infection that can have a massive effect on patients’ health.
Autoclaves are also useful in dental clinics, as these devices promote the highest quality and cleanliness of dental instruments as prescribed by health industry standards. These tools are sterilized in a vacuum autoclave, and they may be kept in sealed pouches for a maximum period of 12 months.
Steam autoclaving is essential in sterilizing medical wastes before these are disposed in the solid waste stream. Since the process does not emit harmful fumes or any other hazardous components that pose harm to the environment, autoclaving serves as an earth-friendly alternative to incineration. However, incineration is still a preferred process to be used for pathological wastes, as well as other infectious or toxic medical wastes.