high pressure sterilization

greenera at wmvx.lvs.dupont.com greenera at wmvx.lvs.dupont.com
Fri Sep 30 07:21:30 EST 1994

In article <35viai$ats at www.interramp.com>, pp000165 at interramp.com writes:
>Then why do hospitals use high pressure steam autoclaves to
>sterilize surgical instruments?  These boilers have been around
>for umteen years and they supposedly kill just about any
>bacterial pathogen. Maybe its the combination of the heat
>and the pressure? You can get heat without pressure although
>with these devices pressure is a byproduct of heat. I
>also think the moisture in these devices has something to
>do with it. Somebody out there must have a definitive
>answer to this issue/question????

Autoclaves don't use really high pressure, just about 20 psi or so.
The point of using an autoclave is that water under atmospheric
pressure can only be heated to boiling temperature (100 degrees C),
but higher temperatures can be attained by increasing the 
pressure (the pressure cooker principle). Some types of bacterial
spores can survive boiling, but are killed by moist heat at
121 degrees C.

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