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How a Sterilizer Works

As mentioned earlier, an autoclave is equal to a pressure cooker. The difference is that the action of the autoclave is more severe.
Instruments to be sterilized are stored in the chamber in the belly of the autoclave. As soon as the autoclave is turned on, a dense cloud of vapor is sent into the chamber. At this point, the pressure and temperature start to increase. Typically, most autoclaves will want to maintain a temperature of about 120°C (about 250°F).
The device also includes a number of valves and piping to allow steam to enter the chamber and direct contaminated air to the outlet. Also, it is not necessary to apply a specific combination of 120°C and 15 minutes. Different combinations are used depending on the interior material.
For example, autoclaves are known to apply a temperature of 134-138°C for 3 minutes. Similarly, other suitable combinations may also be used.
These conditions are maintained for about 15 minutes, which is sufficient to kill every microorganism and all spores. The process destroys the interior of the microbe and effectively ends its existence. After the necessary time, the steam is removed and the pressure is gradually reduced.
 
The process is based on displacing the contaminated air in the chamber with saturated steam and forcing that steam to persist, so that prolonged exposure time ensures effective sterility. It is important to note that the steam is neither too hot nor contains more than 5% moisture.