Air Filtration in Autoclaving

Posted on March 17th, 2021

Autoclaving is one of the most used sterilization methods in healthcare applications, as well as having many industrial uses. In this post, we review what an autoclave is, how it works and the importance of air filtration in autoclaving.

What is an Autoclave?

Essentially, an autoclave is a large steel vessel used to sterilize equipment and tools. Sterilization is done by subjecting the load to high pressure and saturated steam above boiling point, this kills bacteria, viruses, and spores. They are commonly used for sterilizing in a clinical or hospital environment. However, they also have a range of industrial applications, including polymer curing, vulcanization of rubber, and sterilization of canned and hermetically packed foods.

How an Autoclave Works

After an autoclave sterilizer chamber closes, the air inside must be removed. This is done by forcing air out one of two ways: by either adding high pressured steam or via a vacuum pump. If using a vacuum system, the chamber is pumped with high pressured steam that rapidly penetrates all of the surfaces, even on porous objects.

Air Filtration in Autoclaves

Once sterilization is complete, the temperature of the chamber is reduced to allow the door to open and cooling and drying of the contents to begin. The reduction in temperature creates a vacuum in the chamber which is broken by opening the valve to ambient air.
Autoclave filters ensure that only sterile air enters the chamber after the contents have been cleaned. Walker Filtration’s Autoclave Filter Elements ensure the atmospheric air entering the autoclave is both sterile and safe to use. This protects the contents from external contamination.

How often should an Autoclave Filter Element be changed?

Autoclave filter elements should be changed every 50-100 cycles. Filters can be easily replaced at any time, not just when the autoclave machine is calibrated.
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