An autoclave is a typically cylindrical device that uses increased heat and pressure for a variety of industrial purposes. Autoclaves are primarily thought of as sterilization chambers to neutralize potentially infectious agents, but they are also used in manufacturing, scientific research, and other areas. In the field of trenchless construction, autoclaves are beneficial for the pre-treatment of waste material or the fabrication of materials used in underground pipes.
Trenchlesspedia Explains Autoclaves
Think of them as giant pressure cookers. The word autoclave is related to the Latin word for key. The concept comes from the way heated steam can make an apparatus self-locking. Of course, that fact does not prevent designers from putting physical locks and latches on the devices for safety reasons.
Autoclaves, and similar devices, can kill germs. The ancient Greeks used boiling water to sterilize tools used in medical procedures. Louis Pasteur, the French biologist, discovered that heat can destroy bacteria, and developed the process of pasteurization. Today autoclaves are regularly used in hospitals to sanitize medical equipment, especially in third-world countries where the use of disposable instruments is not as widespread.
State laws may require those who create biowaste to use autoclaves prior to release it into the public sewer system. While incinerators are still used in hospital settings, concerns about the release of pollutants have led regulators to require autoclaves in many cases.
Manufacturers also use autoclaves to make plastics and composites. Trenchless technologies are dependent on these newer materials for replacement and rehabilitation of pipes.