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Steam in autoclave

Using heat sterilization method during sterilization process

After boiling for a period of time,The air above the water in the inner chamber will be expelled through the vent along with the steam.And then there is only pure steam in the inner chamber. This steam is called saturated steam.

Summarize:steam sterilizing agent

We know why it is the most effective agents for medical instrument sterilization.First, we explained that the steam transfers heat to the sterilization loads in the autoclave through condensation heat.Then we studied how saturated steam condenses on the load, thereby increasing the temperature and pressure to penetrate deeper into the load.Finally we learned that most microbes contain water. The presence of this water actually increases the sterilization ability of steam, because water transfers heat to microbes more efficiently than dry heat.


In the inner chamber of the autoclave,All air has been stripped away, only leaving steam in the inner chamber.This pure steam is called saturated steam.”Saturation” means that the space occupied by the steam cannot contain any more steam, and it is completely saturated with high levels of ultra-concentrated steam.The optimal composition of steam is 3% liquid and 97% gas in a autoclave.Any change of the moisture percentage will increase or decrease the sterilization time to effect the sterilization process and sterilization result.

When saturated steam touches the surface of a cold item,such as load in an autoclave, heat is transferred from the steam to a cold item, thereby heating it. This is called the heat of condensation.


Another reason that saturated steam considered as the preferred sterilizer is that it contains the most humidity.The presence of humidity is of great importance to steam’s ability to kill microorganisms.Heat and humidity are more destructive than dry heat.Think of a wound caused by boiling water or steam versus and a wound caused by touching something hot. Wounds caused by damp heat are more painful and deeper than wounds made by dry heat.The moist heat of steam can strike microbes more deeply and effectively than dry heat, because steam can transfer heat better than hot air as well.


As we just explained,Saturated steam has a great ability to transfer heat to the cold load, allowing deep penetration of steam within the sterilization load.In addition, when the steam condenses on the sterilizing load, the volume of the steam shrinks (gather together and becomes smaller) until it becomes moisture on the surface of the load.Therefore,there will be more space for steam using.And then,the pressure condensates the steam and more and more steam were absorbed in the inner chamber of the autoclave.And the whole process causes the increase of the temperature and pressure inside the inner chamber.

Now let us see why the steam is considered as the best sterilizing agent to the autoclave.There are three main reasons:heat,pressure and biology.

But firstly we need to see what happened in the autoclave.Let us open the door and put the sterilization loads into the inner chamber.Sterilization loads mean everything what we want to sterilize.For example:Surgical instruments, together with laboratory necessities such as solid, liquid, or hollow items.Once we close the door and set the autoclave to proper circulation,the water will start entering the inner chamber and will be heated up to 121℃ or 134℃ to produce steam.Steam can be generated either inside the chamber or outside the chamber through a steam generator. Customers can choose to be equipped with built-in steam generator and external steam generator according to their actual needs.We will provide one-to-one customized services according to customer needs.

In addition, many microorganisms contain water, And those that contain water are more likely to be killed by heat and humidity,because the water in them mixes with the powerful moisture-heat transfer effect of steam.Even for those organisms without moisture (such as dry spores) or with little moisture, steam is still the preferred sterilizing agent of choice.Wounds caused by boiling water or steam cut more deeply than those caused by dry heat alone. So for spores that lack water inside, the steam can be damaging.

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