Debbie Knight

Photo of the Week: Autoclave “Art”

In photo log on January 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

autoclave art

This is what happens when a plastic bin melts in an autoclave.

I call this “autoclave art.”

Sometimes the “art” is quite interesting. Something you want to keep and hang on the lab wall.

Sometimes, as in this case, I find the “art” a bit pedestrian. However, it might make a cool picture frame. Albeit, its bubbly marshmallow detail might have a limited appeal.

So how did this happen?

Well, normally the autoclave sterilizes glassware, liquids, etc. using a combination of heat (121 degrees Celsius or 250 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressure (18 pounds per square inch). Most bacteria are killed under these conditions.

This particular autoclave malfunctioned and heated the chamber beyond (way beyond) the 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When I heard the autoclave’s alarm sounding, the pressure was 35 pounds per square inch (nearly twice the amount normally used). I’m not sure what the temperature was — the digital readout where the temperature would be displayed was screaming “Error! Error! Error!”

I’d say!

The temperature was high enough to melt the plastic bin the glass bottles and flasks were in.

autoclave art in situ

We had to call the repair guy this morning to fix the overheating issue and to help remove the plastic which had oozed through the wire mesh rack. He will take the rack (and the embedded artwork) back to the shop to melt off the plastic.

So long, autoclave art!


For more on autoclaves, see my previous post




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: