An autoclave is a machine used to carry out industrial and scientific processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure in relation to ambient pressure/ temperature.The autoclave was invented by Charles Chamberland in 1879, although a precursor known as the steam digester was created by Denis Papin in 1679.
- Autoclaves are used to grow crystals under high temperatures and pressures.
- Synthetic quartz crystals used in the electronics industry are grown in autoclaves. Packing of parachutes for specialist applications may be performed under vacuum in an autoclave, which allows the chutes to be warmed and inserted into their packs at the smallest volume.
- Autoclaves are also widely used to cure composites, especially for melding multiple layers without any voids that would decrease material strength, and in the vulcanization of rubber.
- Sterilization autoclaves are widely used in microbiology and mycology, medicine and prosthetics fabrication.
- Chemical and food industries.
- laboratory glassware, other equipment and waste, surgical instruments, and medical waste processing.
- Sterilization of waste material, such as pathogenic hospital waste, culture media, rubber material, gowns, dressings, gloves, etc.
- It is particularly useful for materials which cannot withstand the higher temperature of a hot air oven.