An autoclave is a pressure chamber used to carry out industrial processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure different from ambient air pressure. Autoclaves are used in medical applications to perform sterilization and in the chemical industry to cure coatings and vulcanize rubber and for hydrothermal synthesis. They are also used in industrial applications, specially regarding composites. Source: Wikipedia
The autoclave in our BioTech Lab is used for a variety of purposes.
Right. In the context of a bio-lab, an autoclave is used to treat equipment and media to sterilize them and denature enzymes. When working with nucleic acids, contamination with nucleases (enzymes which destroy DNA or RNA) are of concern. Autoclaving will denature DNAses, but RNAses.
Solid supplies (including some plastics) can be completely sterilized.
Commonly autoclaved items include glassware, culture media, scalpels.
Our autoclave has a personality. Ask to be trained before use. Remember that it needs to be level, and get the interior water level as high as possible.
Dave Casey thought he was going to be murdered in the woods while acquiring this for us. Ask him. It's a great story.