Industrial autoclaves are hermetic containers that kill microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and spores by using steam under high pressure. The steam is pumped at a higher pressure than normal atmospheric pressure to reach a temperature of 121–140 °C. As steam is pumped into the main chamber of the autoclave, it replaces air and creates a vacuum seal. The pressure vessel kills pathogens and microbes, but industrial autoclaves may also be used to reinforce composite materials, and laminate surfaces. Sensitive products such as foods and pharmaceuticals typically use wet steam autoclaves to sterilize containers and instruments because moisture can penetrate tight areas. But other applications, such as wood treatment or rubber vulcanizing, may also be subjected to dry steam techniques.
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