An autoclave is a piece of medical equipment that's used to sterilize tools and instruments. After a dentist examines your teeth, she'll put her dental tools in an autoclave to clean them for the next patient.

An autoclave uses high pressure and extremely hot steam to sterilize instruments. It's a vital piece of equipment in a hospital or a lab, since autoclaves make it easy to ensure that medical tools are completely clean and sterile. In French, autoclave means "self-locking," from auto-, "self, and the Latin clavis, "key."

Definitions of autoclave

n a device for heating substances above their boiling point; used to manufacture chemicals or to sterilize surgical instruments

steriliser, sterilizer
autoclave consisting of a vessel in which plant or animal materials are digested
pressure cooker
autoclave for cooking at temperatures above the boiling point of water
Type of:
an object used as a container (especially for liquids)

v subject to the action of an autoclave

Type of:
sterilise, sterilize
make free from bacteria

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